The remarks were Trump’s latest effort to turn Biden’s clean energy policies into a liability among Rust Belt voters who may hold the key to winning next year’s presidential election, even as the White House promotes those same ones. policies as a bonanza for job creation.
« Joe Biden is waging war on the US auto industry with a series of crippling mandates designed to force Americans to buy expensive electric cars — that’s exactly what he wants — even as thousands of electric cars are piling up on unsold car lots. » Trump said. in the video, which appears to reference a recent analysis by Cox Automotive that found EV supplies at dealerships increased more than 300% this year. Cox’s analysis doesn’t include vehicles sold by Tesla, the country’s leading EV maker, because it doesn’t sell through dealerships.
“This ridiculous Green New Deal crusade is driving auto prices through the roof as it sets the stage for the destruction of American auto manufacturing,” he said.
Biden said his clean energy policies are “creating millions of high-paying clean energy jobs” — as he said in an appearance Thursday in Philadelphia — and will save consumers money, while reducing the greenhouse gas pollution that is warming the planet.
Trump also claimed in the video that he « saved the American auto industry » during his previous tenure in the White House from 2017 to 2021, and has vowed to do it again. Vehicle sales have remained stable for most of the Trump presidency, but declined significantly at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“If Biden’s onslaught is not stopped, American auto manufacturing will be completely dead. That’s why I’m going to end these Green New Deal atrocities on day one,” he said.
He added, « I hope United Auto Workers is hearing this, because I think you better support Trump, because I’m going to grow your business and they’re destroying your business. »
Trump’s hopes on this front have all but dashed: In a memo in May, UAW President Shawn Fain wrote that another Trump term « would be a disaster » and that union members must « organise behind a pro-worker, pro-climate politics, and a pro-democracy political agenda that it can deliver to the working class. »
On the other hand, the union has also refused – so far – to support Biden. UAW said in May it would withhold endorsements for a presidential candidate, despite its previous support for Biden and several other unions backing him for 2024. The auto union cited its skepticism of the EV transition, which threatens to reduce jobs in the sector.
Trump’s pledges unveiled Thursday are the latest in a series of steps he has taken to try to leverage auto workers’ fears about electric vehicles into an electoral advantage in Rust Belt states, particularly Michigan, which voted for him in 2016 but moved to Biden in 2020.
“Biden is a catastrophe for Michigan, and his environmental extremism is ruthless and disloyal and horrific to working American, and you’re starting to see it,” he said at a Michigan campaign event in June, his third in the state in the 2024 Race.
Biden has used a variety of policies to push electric vehicles beyond emissions rules. The Inflation Reduction Act he signed into law last year rewrote tax incentives that can encourage consumers to buy EVs, the 2021 Infrastructure Act put billions into charging stations, and the administration is offering billions of dollars in subsidies , loans and loan guarantees to boost electric vehicle technology.
Biden met with Fain this week, focusing on contract talks with major automakers and the looming threat of a strike.
Trump’s dislike of tightened regulations on car and truck pollution is nothing new. His administration in 2019 sought to slash the Obama administration’s auto emissions and efficiency standards, but Biden immediately put those cuts on hold when he took office in 2021. Since then, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have been working on stricter standards.
A version of this report was first published in the E&E News PM. Get access to more comprehensive and in-depth reports on the energy transition, natural resources, climate change and more in E&E News.