Former President Trump will speak to Detroit autoworkers during next week’s Republican primary debate, marking the second debate the former president will skip, according to multiple media reports.
The New York Times, citing two Trump advisers with knowledge of the plans, reported Trump plans to travel to Detroit next week to deliver a prime-time speech to current and former union members.
The president is slated to travel on Sept. 27, when several of the Republican presidential candidates will gather at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. for the second GOP primary debate.
A source familiar with the Trump campaign confirmed to The Hill that the Times report was accurate.
Trump’s decision to go to Detroit instead of the debate follows his signals in recent weeks that he does not intend to participate in any of the GOP primary debates, which are planned to occur once a month ahead of the Republican convention next summer.
Trump skipped last month’s debate, instead sitting for a pre-taped interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
Trump’s reported trip comes amid an ongoing battle between the United Auto Workers (UAW) and the “Big Three” automakers – Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis. Last week, UAW began a strike against the Big Three after ongoing negotiations failed and the workers’ contracts expired.
The union is asking for wage increases, cost-of-living pay raises, a 32-hour work week with 40 hours of pay, union representation of workers at new battery plants and restoration of traditional-defined benefit pensions for new hires who now receive only 401(k)-style retirement plans and pension increases for retirees.
In a NBC News interview released last week, Trump went after the UAW leadership, but refused to take a side on contract negotiations.
“I’m on the side of making our country great… The auto workers are being sold down the river by their leadership, and their leadership should endorse Trump,” Trump said in an NBC News interview held before UAW workers began their strike.
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