Pence Highlights Lordstown Motors during RNC

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Lordstown Motors Corp. was spotlighted briefly during the second night of the Republican National Convention.

Vice President Mike Pence spoke with local truck driver Geno DiFabio during a pre-recorded segment in front of President Abraham Lincoln’s boyhood home in Indiana. He was among six individuals Pence interviewed to praise President Donald Trump’s performance during his first term.  

The interview with DiFabio focused on Trump’s role in bringing LMC to the Lordstown plant, which General Motors sold to the startup. Pence visited the LMC plant in June for the unveiling of electric vehicle startup’s pickup truck, the Endurance.

Trump was highly critical of GM’s decision to close the Lordstown plant in March 2019, when it ceased production of the Chevrolet Cruze. He took particular aim at both GM CEO Mary Barra and the plant’s union leadership. 

DiFabio, a prominent local Trump supporter, heard politicians “make empty promises about defending American jobs” for years, only for those promises to be broken repeatedly, Pence said. 

When GM closed the plant, Trump “refused to stand by and watch it happen,” he added.

“As Geno observed, this president reached out to General Motors to find a way to bring jobs back to Lordstown, and plans were soon set into motion to create Lordstown Motors,” he said.  

“President Trump says this is how we fix it, and I thought, ‘Well that’s a simple solution,’ ” DiFabio said. “There’s no other president that could have done it. There’s no one that’s even tried to do it.” 

Trump is “a doer” who “appreciates every one of us,” he added. 

“When he said, ‘Make America Great Again,’ that was his task,” he said. “That wasn’t his slogan. That was his task.”

The segment drew praise from Dan Lusheck, Trump Victory spokesman in Ohio, who also took the opportunity to criticize U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-13 Ohio. 

“There is no better way the vice president could have highlighted the ‘Land of Opportunity’ than by featuring a blue collar Ohioan from Youngstown who knows first hand what President Trump has accomplished for the working men and women of this state,” Lusheck said in an email responding to a request for comment. 

“Geno is a strong patriot who represents countless working men and women that have lost hope in Democrats like Tim Ryan who turned their backs on workers to give control to the radical wing of the Democrat Party,” he added.

Democrats were more critical. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, blasted Trump on Twitter for his failure to intervene when GM decided to close the GM plant. 

“Trump never cared about the Lordstown workers. Instead, he broke his promises and betrayed them,” he said. “President Trump promised Ohioans, ‘If I’m elected, you won’t lose one plant.’  Then, GM closed the Lordstown plant and laid off thousands of workers — and Trump didn’t lift a FINGER to protect them.”

In March, Brown added, Trump was unaware that GM had sold the Lordstown plant, “after claiming he’d bring their jobs back.”

Ohio Democratic Party chairman David Pepper also targeted Trump’s promises on jobs. 

“Donald Trump promised to bring jobs back to our communities, failed to get it done, then blamed Ohioans for his own incompetence,” he said in an email. “He’s never cared about working families, and a half-baked photo op can’t spin that betrayal.”

Pictured: Vice President Mike Pence at the unveiling of the Lordstown Motors Endurance.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.