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Trump Skipping Republican Debate To Address Union Workers In Detroit

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Updated Sep 18, 2023, 08:53pm EDT


Former President Donald Trump plans on traveling to Detroit to give a speech to union workers instead of attending the Republican primary debate, a Trump campaign official told Forbes—seemingly an attempt to woo workers into voting for him amid a high-profile auto workers’ strike.

Key Facts

Trump’s visit will include a prime-time speech to over 500 current and former union workers, including plumbers, pipe-fitters, electricians, as well as autoworkers, the official said.

The visit is scheduled for September 27, the same day that the Republican National Committee is hosting its second presidential primary debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California.

The campaign is considering having Trump visit the picket line, though the campaign official said that such an appearance would involve difficult logistics and is unlikely.

News Peg

On Friday, the United Auto Workers began a strike against General Motors, Ford and Stellantis, the big three automakers, at three different facilities until the company meets their demands or the two come to an agreement. The union is asking for a 46% wage increase, to end the industry’s tiered system of wages and benefits and a workweek reduction from 40 hours to 32 hours.

Key Background

The visit signals the Trump team’s desire to be seen by voters as unconcerned with his primary challengers. However, the New York Times reported that Trump is likely already focusing on a rematch with President Joe Biden. This visit also suggests Trump is making an attempt to appeal to labor and working Americans, with many analysts attributing Trump’s 2016 election victory over Hillary Clinton to his support among working class white Americans. Furthermore, that voting base is likely to play a key role in a general election between Trump and Biden, who calls himself the most pro-union president in history.


This would be the second time this election cycle that Trump skipped a primary debate. Trump eschewed the first debate in late August and instead sat for an interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who has started a show on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Further Reading

Trump to Woo Striking Union Members in Detroit, Skipping 2nd G.O.P. Debate (New York Times)

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