With varying results, President-elect Donald Trump took aim at two very different targets on Twitter Tuesday morning: automaker General Motors – and House Republicans.
According to The Hill, General Motors Co. saw their stock drop by about 1 percent — roughly a quarter billion dollars in value — on Tuesday after Trump blasted the automaker for sending some of its Chevrolet Cruze production from Mexico to U.S. dealerships without paying any taxes.
“General Motors is sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze to U.S. car dealers-tax free across border. Make in U.S.A.or pay big border tax!” Trump warned in an early morning tweet before the stock market opened.
Not long after the dip, however, shares of GM rose 1 percent to $35.19, Reuters reported.
GM responded to Trump’s Twitter attack in a statement on Tuesday, saying it builds only the hatchback version of the Cruze “for global markets in Mexico, with a small number sold in the U.S.”
In a surprising turn of events, it was one of GM’s chief rivals, Ford Motor Co., that appeared to heed Trump’s warning on Tuesday, when the company suddenly announced it was halting plans to build a new small-car factory in Mexico.
Ford – which has long faced criticism from Trump for its plan to move small-car production from Michigan to Mexico – said it would instead invest $700 million in a Michigan facility that will build electric vehicles, Forbes reported.
After Trump’s election in November, Ford and CEO Mark Fields said the company would not shift production of its Lincoln MKC to Mexico from Louisville, Kentucky, as planned. But Fields later backtracked and said it was too late to scrap plans to build the new factory in Mexico.
According to Bloomberg, Fields cited Trump’s “pro-growth policies” as one of the reasons for its sudden turnaround.
“One of the factors we’re looking at is the more positive U.S. business environment that we foresee under President-elect Trump and the pro-growth policies that he’s been outlining,” he told reporters at Ford’s factory in Flat Rock, Michigan, on Tuesday. “This is a vote of confidence around that.”
Trump himself seemed to take credit for Ford’s change of plans on Twitter, retweeting a Fox News story that was headlined “Ford to scrap Mexico plant, invest in Michigan; CEO cites Trump policies.”
He also tweeted:
Trump Criticizes GOP Lawmakers for Weakening Ethics Watchdog
Trump’s second target on Tuesday morning was House Republicans. The president-elect tweeted his disapproval of GOP lawmakers’ move, via a closed-door vote on Monday, to gut an independent ethics watchdog charged with investigating their behavior.
“With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog, as unfair as it ……may be, their number one act and priority. Focus on tax reform, healthcare and so many other things of far greater importance! #DTS,” the president-elect wrote in two tweets. The hashtag is seemingly a reference to his campaign promise to “drain the swamp.”
Less than two hours later, House Republicans abruptly reversed course on gutting the Office of Congressional Ethics, with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy offering a motion to restore the current rules for the watchdog.
House Republicans were facing backlash from more than just Trump, however. House Speaker Paul Ryan also objected to Monday’s vote, as did members of both major political parties, The New York Times reports.
Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, told CNN on Tuesday afternoon:
“I think the credit really goes to public outrage … Republicans got it totally wrong. There was instant outrage and the president-elect saw that and responded to it. It wasn’t the strongest condemnation. He seemed to suggest that what they were doing was right but it shouldn’t have been the first thing out of the gate. But that was enough of a signal to House Republicans that they were going to lose in the public that they changed their minds.”
Trump’s disapproving tweets over the vote come amid concerns over his own potential ethics violations, including lingering questions about how his tangle of international business interests could conflict with his presidency.
Bookbinder added, “He came out on the right side of this one, but he’s someone who’s been under a lot of fire on ethics issues of his own, even before he’s taking office, so this was kind of an easy one to come in and say how wrong this was … But there’s a lot more to be done on ethics issues from him on down.”
‘America Cannot Afford a Twitter President’
As he did prior to his election, Trump continues to use Twitter to air flat-out lies — including a bogus claim that he won the election in a landslide (he lost the popular vote), and another that millions of people voted illegally for opponent Hillary Clinton (no evidence of widespread voter fraud had been put forward) — as well as what some critics see as petty and egomaniacal gripes. On New Year’s Eve, he took a swipe at his “many enemies” who can’t get over his victory. And on Monday, he pouted that CNN used an unflattering photo of him on its book jacket.
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Sen. Chuck Schumer criticized Trump‘s Twitter antics on the Senate floor on Tuesday, saying: “America cannot afford a Twitter president. Making America great again takes more than 140 characters per issue.”
Addressing Trump, Schumer went on: “For you, Twitter suffices. … But these issues are complex and demand careful consideration and action. We cannot tweet them away. … Tweeting about 800 jobs you saved is not a re-manufacturing policy. That’s not an economic policy. We’re going to hold the president-elect accountable for a real policy to stop jobs from leaving this country — not just one half of one plant, not just one tweet — even if Republicans in Congress oppose it.”
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