Trump hails GM's sale of shuttered Ohio plant

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSessions accepts 'Fox News Sunday' invitation to debate, Tuberville declines Priest among those police cleared from St. John's Church patio for Trump visit Trump criticizes CNN on split-screen audio of Rose Garden address, protesters clashing with police MORE said Wednesday that General Motors has agreed to sell its shuttered Lordstown, Ohio, plant to an electric truck manufacturer.

Trump tweeted that he spoke to GM CEO Mary Barra, who said the company will sell its Lordstown plant to Workhorse for electric truck production. The deal is pending approval by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union.

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GM will spend another $700 million on three separate Ohio locations, creating 450 jobs, Trump said.

"I have been working nicely with GM to get this done," he tweeted. "Thank you to Mary B, your GREAT Governor, and Senator Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanIs Trump encouraging the world's use of national security as stealth protectionism? House Republican offers bill to create 'return to work bonus' Soured on Fox, Trump may be seeking new propaganda outlet MORE. With all the car companies coming back, and much more, THE USA IS BOOMING!"

In a statement roughly an hour after Trump’s tweets, GM confirmed it is in discussions with Workhorse to sell the Lordstown plant. The sale "has the potential to bring significant production and electric vehicle assembly jobs to the plant," the automaker said.

“We remain committed to growing manufacturing jobs in the U.S., including in Ohio, and we see this development as a potential win-win for everyone,” Barra said in a statement. “Workhorse has innovative technologies that could help preserve Lordstown’s more than 50-year tradition of vehicle assembly work.”

Hughes said Workhorse would use the Lordstown complex to build a commercial electric pickup truck.

“This potential agreement creates a positive outcome for all parties involved and will help solidify the leadership of Workhorse’s role in the [electric vehicle] community,” Workhorse CEO Duane Hughes said in a statement.

Portman said in a pair of tweets shortly after Trump's announcement that he was "optimistic" and thanked the president for his "help in bringing new production to #Lordstown."

"I've worked with Workhorse and look forward to further developments and news from @GM," Portman tweeted. "I’m hopeful we will see the #Lordstown plant humming again."

Meanwhile, Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanCongress must fill the leadership void Pelosi pushes to unite party on coronavirus bill despite grumbling from left Democrats rally behind monthly ,000 relief checks MORE (D-Ohio), whose district includes the plant, called GM's plan to sell the plant “bittersweet.” 
 
 “In the short term, for the workers there, it doesn’t look like it’s going to have any positive impact,” said the congressman in a call with reporters.

But Ryan, who's among the more than 20 Democrats running for the White House, added that the deal, in the long term, “could be potentially positive.”

GM's move, if finalized, would serve as a boost to Trump, who campaigned on a pledge to restore manufacturing jobs. The announcement comes as he seeks to defend Rust Belt states, including Ohio, that he won in 2016 en route to his election victory.

GM announced plans last November to cut 15,000 jobs and close manufacturing sites in Lordstown as well as Detroit-Hamtramck, Mich., and Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. It also announced at the time that it planned to close auto parts factories in Warren, Mich., and White Marsh, Md.

Trump repeatedly pressured GM to reverse course, and threatened late last year to end the automaker's federal tax credit for electric vehicles in retaliation.

Still, the Lordstown plant ceased operation in March. Trump lashed out at the local union boss at the time, singling him out over the closure. The union leader, David Green, wrote to Trump in July 2018 seeking the president's help in getting the automaker to reinvest in the plant.

The auto giant told The Hill shortly after the Lordstown plant closed that the "ultimate future of the unallocated plants will be resolved between GM and the UAW."

—Updated at 3:06 p.m. Sylvan Lane and Rachel Frazin contributed.