Instead of participating in the second GOP debate, Trump intends to have a meeting with autoworkers who are on strike.

On Monday, a reliable source revealed that instead of taking part in the second Republican presidential debate, ex-President Donald Trump intends to visit Michigan, a crucial state, in order to hold discussions with autoworkers who are currently on strike.

Trump, who also skipped the first debate last month, has signaled that he is already focused on the 2024 election against President Joe Biden as he maintains a wide lead against his GOP rivals in primary polls. In recent days, he has been leaning hard into the strike, painting himself as sympathetic to the workers and accusing Biden of trying to destroy the car industry by expanding electric cars and other green energy policies.

The Sept. 27 trip, first reported by The New York Times, will also include a primetime speech, according to the person familiar with the plans who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity before they were made public.

On that day, candidates from the GOP field will convene at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, for the second primary debate of this cycle.

Instead of joining his fellow GOP contenders in Milwaukee last month, Trump chose to participate in a pre-recorded interview with Tucker Carlson. This interview was broadcasted on the social media platform that was previously called Twitter, coinciding with the first hour of the debate.

Trump has long sought to paint himself as a fighter for the “forgotten men and women” of the working class and spent much of his 2016 campaign campaigning in Rust Belt towns suffering from the shift away from mining and manufacturing. Earlier this year, he visited East Palestine, Ohio, after a train derailment, a visit aides have considered a key moment in his campaign as he worked to recover from midterm losses, and as they tried to move his focus away from his 2020 loss.

On Monday, Ammar Moussa, a spokesperson for the Biden campaign, stated that Donald Trump will be visiting Michigan in the upcoming week with the intention of deceiving Michigan workers and denying his responsibility for betraying them throughout his presidency. Moussa claimed that instead of supporting workers, Trump prioritized tax cuts for the extremely wealthy, resulting in the closure of auto companies and the outsourcing of American jobs. Additionally, Moussa argued that during the financial crisis, Trump would have allowed auto companies to go bankrupt rather than providing them with financial assistance, as President Barack Obama did in 2009.

On Monday, the United Auto Workers and Detroit’s Big Three carmakers resumed talks aimed at ending a strike now in its fourth day. Stellantis described the discussion as “constructive.” A spokesperson for General Motors said representatives of the company and the United Auto Workers were continuing to negotiate.

Dave Green, a UAW regional director in Ohio and Indiana, expressed that the actions of the previous president during his tenure have completely eroded his trust and support from organized labor. Green firmly believes that the UAW will never give their endorsement to Trump.

Green told The AP on Monday that the sole purpose of his actions is to gain votes for himself and create division among our members through the use of political language.

Earlier this summer, Trump visited Michigan and received recognition from the Oakland County GOP as their Man of the Decade. When questioned about the strike in a recent interview on NBC News, he expressed his belief that “auto workers will not have any jobs” due to the production of electric cars being shifted to China.

“He added that the leadership is betraying the auto workers and they should support Trump.”

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