LORDSTOWN, Ohio — General Motors is moving to shut down as many as five North American factories in a major restructuring, but there are more than jobs riding on the fate of at least one of them: Ohio's Lordstown assembly plant.
Ohio and much of the rest of the industrial Midwest were vital to President Donald Trump's campaign in 2016 and probably will be again in 2020. Trump ran on a promise to bring back factory jobs, and blue-collar voters in this otherwise Democratic stronghold in northeastern Ohio embraced him.
Trump blasted GM's announcement this week that it will shed up to 14,000 workers in North America. He threatened to cut off federal subsidies to the automaker and singled out the Ohio plant as one he wants to stay open.
"The U.S. saved General Motors, and this is the THANKS we get!" the president tweeted on Tuesday, referring to the government bailout of the automaker a decade ago.
Democrats and Republicans in Congress and union leaders are also pressuring the company to keep the plant running, in what's now a high-stakes decision for all involved, not just for the workers and the battered Rust Belt community nervously watching.
GM said Monday that Lordstown will stop making the Chevy Cruze by March, at a cost of 1,400 union jobs on top of the 2,700 lost there since Trump took office.
The plant is a focal point in the potential closings because of the president's pledge at a rally last year in nearby Youngstown, where he talked about going past big factories whose jobs "have left Ohio."
"They're all coming back. They're all coming back," Trump assured supporters. "Don't move. Don't sell your house."