Trump to spotlight Ohio manufacturing despite GM closure


(CNN)President Donald Trump hopes to spotlight resurgent manufacturing Wednesday in Ohio, a key piece of his 2020 re-election strategy that is being undercut by the closure of a major auto plant.

In his 10th visit to the state as president, Trump will tour an Army tank plant in Lima, which the administration says was destined for closure before massive new military spending revived orders.
But on the other side of the state, workers at a now-idled General Motors plant in Lordstown are searching for work after the automaker said there was little demand for the sedans that were produced there.
    Trump has angrily decried the closure and pressured GM CEO Mary Barra to find a way to reopen the plant. There's little to indicate those entreaties are working, but his continued attention on the issue reflects the centrality of heartland manufacturing to his political message.
    It was promises of reviving that sector which helped drive Trump to the White House in 2016, including in Ohio. Trump's repeat visits to the state over the past two years -- including for rollicking campaign rallies during the midterm elections -- are meant to maintain his standing.
    On Wednesday, he will seek to tie together the nation's economic health with its national security goals in a tour of the Lima Army Tank Plant, which produces Abrams tanks for the US military. Since it opened in 1941, the facility has been threatened with closure several times, but has avoided that fate over and over.
    The spike in defense funding that Trump approved early in his presidency -- including $2 billion for new tanks -- helped put the plant on more solid ground, and hiring sped up for welders and machinists to produce the new vehicles. Trump will press for another spending hike which was included in his budget proposal, revealed last week.
    As a backdrop for Trump's political message, the plant illustrates the traditional manufacturing jobs the President has vowed to boost, believing those workers will reward him politically.
      "You can judge his priorities based on where his schedule sends him," an administration official previewing the President's trip said on Tuesday, adding Trump is proud of how many trips he's made to the state.
      The official, who was speaking anonymously to preview the President's activities, declined to say whether he would address the GM plant closure in his remarks.