A lesson from Lordstown

Columbus Dispatch: Whatever happened to the solid nugget of common sense: “Actions speak louder than words”?

In today’s Trumpism, that wisdom often seems to be forgotten, and President Donald Trump is a prime offender.

The latest case in point is the dreaded but not unexpected announcement from Detroit that General Motors will close its Lordstown plant – one of its largest in the U.S. – and end production of the Chevrolet Cruze built there.

Back in July 2017, Trump wooed about 8,000 supporters in a Mahoning Valley rally by first lamenting the loss of the area’s vaunted manufacturing jobs and then promising, “They’re all coming back. They’re all coming back. Don’t move, don’t sell your house.” Just words.

The promises sounded good, but any substance behind them has not been visible.

GM laid off its 1,200-worker third shift at Lordstown the day Trump was inaugurated, Jan. 20, 2017. This past April, GM announced it was eliminating Lordstown’s second shift, costing another 1,500 jobs. So this week’s final-straw notice that the plant will close, erasing the last 1,400 jobs there, was predictable.


Meanwhile, Ohio’s two U.S. Senators, Democrat Sherrod Brown and Republican Rob Portman, were doing what they could to try to persuade GM to keep the 1,400 jobs now lost in Lordstown and even invest more in the state.

Brown introduced the American Cars American Jobs Act on Aug. 1. It would offer $3,500 government-provided price cuts for buying certain American-made cars while denying federal tax cuts to companies that move domestic jobs overseas. Brown and Portman also met with GM CEO Mary Barra to try to save Ohio jobs. Those are actions.

It is unfortunate that neither Brown nor Portman’s efforts could forestall what was probably inevitable in GM’s larger plan to remain profitable. But at least Brown and Portman were trying.

So we ask if the president will ever employ more-effective tools to make good on his many extraordinary but incredible promises. Bullying, finger-pointing and deflection are wearing thin, especially when the president’s targets are usually doing much more than he is to actually try to deliver the goods.

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