Following his landslide victory in New York, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump held a Wednesday campaign rally in Indianapolis, Indiana where trade has become a central issue of the 2016 race.
“Few states in America have seen incomes decline more than Indiana,” Trump said at his Wednesday rally. “Indiana has lost one in five manufacturing jobs since China joined the World Trade Organization.”
“Ted Cruz supports Chinese currency cheating. That’s how they kill us,” Trump said. “You have two other candidates who, by the way, are in favor of Trans-Pacfic Partnership that are a disaster,” Trump said referring to Sen. Cruz and John Kasich.
“We are going to bring steel and manufacturing back to Indiana!” Trump pledged via twitter.
In February, Indianapolis’ Carrier Corp. announced the layoff of 1,400 workers with its decision to move its facility from Indianapolis, Indiana to Monterrey, Mexico. Video footage capturing the moment the 1,400 Indianapolis workers were informed they’d be out of a job quickly went viral. The New York Post described the video as “stomach-turning.”
Three days later, Donald Trump was the only candidate to address Carrier’s announcement in the Republican presidential debate.
Trump addressed the Carrier workers specifically, “All of these 1400 people that are being laid off — they’re laid off. They were crying. It was a very sad situation.”
Trump said that under a President Trump, Carrier would stay and “build in the United States because we are killing ourselves with trade pacts that are no good for us and no good for our workers.”
As the New York Times reported last month, Trump has made Carrier a “centerpiece” of his campaign against globalist trade pacts.
The New York Times writes:
In living rooms and barrooms across Indianapolis, conversations with Carrier workers… crystallize what has become an extraordinary moment in the American political and economic debate. As both political parties belatedly recognize the anxiety and deep-seated anger of blue-collar workers nationwide, the more-trade-is-good bipartisan consensus that has long held sway in Washington is being sundered… Mr. Trump has repudiated decades of G.O.P. support for free trade, calling for heavy tariffs on Mexican-made goods from the likes of Carrier. This has helped put him within arm’s reach of the Republican nomination.
Since 1990, Indianapolis has lost nearly 30% of its manufacturing, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In the last three months alone, the state of Indiana has lost 4,400 manufacturing jobs.
At his Indianapolis rally, Trump again addressed Carrier’s decision to move to Mexico: “Carrier fired the 1,400 people… they get fired rather ruthlessly by someone who looked like he was upper-mid level management. And somebody had their cell phone going and most of you saw the deal. I thought it was terrible.”
Trump singled out members of his audience who were among the 1,400 Carrier workers who had been fired. He said that one of them had been working there for 17 years; another had been working there for 26 years.
Trump pointed out that Indiana workers have also been hit hard by the collapse of the U.S. steel industry brought on by illicit foreign trading practices and Chinese product dumping. Trump said at his Wednesday rally:
We’re going to bring steel back to Indiana. China sends all its stuff over here, and by the way, they’re dumping steel all over the place and they’re knocking out your steel, you understand that. But China sends stuff over here no tax, no nothing, no problem, come on in folks. We don’t care if it’s good product, bad product. When we want to go to China with your companies from Indiana, it’s impossible to get the product in and if you do get it in, they tax you right through the hilt… That is not fair trade, it’s not free trade, it’s stupid trade for our country and we’re not going to do it anymore.
As the Chicago Tribune reported in a March 2015 article entitled, “Struggling Steel Industry Asks Congress For Help,” CEOs of U.S. Steel Corp, and other industry leaders:
… described an influx of steel imports that are taking up an increasingly larger percentage of the market, causing industry layoffs in Northwest Indiana and across the country. They said today’s imports China, Turkey and South Korea have surpassed the amount dumped here in the late 1990s that resulted in the bankruptcies of major steel players, including Bethlehem, Inland and LTV steel companies, all of which had mills in Northwest Indiana… U.S. Steel recently announced as many as 752 employees at its Northwest Indiana facilities will be laid off by mid-May, including 83 probationary workers and 300 who work at the Gary Works coke plant, which will be permanently closed. [President of U.S. Steel Corp Mario] Longhi said the government needs to look at currency manipulation and the injury factor to our mills as it writes new trade laws.
Sen. Ted Cruz has opposed efforts to crack down on Chinese currency cheating— voting down a proposal offered by Sen. Rob Portman, which would have addressed the illicit trading practice.
Gary, Indiana was hit particularly hard by the collapse of the steel industry. As RT reported in 2011, “Founded by US Steel Corporation in 1906, the town of Gary once boomed with manufacturing jobs. But competition from overseas led to a 90 percent cut in the work force – the one-industry urban centre came crumbling down.”
Business Insider reported in 2013:
Gary’s deterioration is not a new story. The city’s economy was decimated when the steel industry collapsed. Gary has lost 55% of its population since the city’s peak in 1960. Back then, 178,320 lived in Gary. By 2010, the population had dropped to just 80,294. Gary might have lost even more people since then — U.S. Census estimates put the 2012 population at 79,170… U.S. Steel used to be a big employer in Gary, providing jobs to 25,000 people. Now, just 5,000 work for the company, according to NBC. Competition overseas led to massive layoffs in the steel industry.
RT described Gary, Indiana as “America’s ghost town, one of the most dangerous places in the country that used to boom with industry and is now an urban desert… Dubbed a symbol of urban blight by some. Compared to post-evacuation Chernobyl by others… The downtown area is now no-town. The main commercial street – an urban desert.”
Trump told the attendees of his Indiana rally that a President Trump would fight to bring back and keep their jobs in the United States. Trump said:
I’m not controlled by someone that gave me ten million dollars and represents the pharmaceutical industry. I’m not controlled by people who represent energy and lumber and all of the others. I’m controlled by you. I’m going to do the right thing. And the truth is our country can never, ever come back with these politicians because you have lobbyists in Washington and they have on their foreheads stamped: it says ‘Cruz,’ it says ‘Crooked Hillary’. Because you have lobbyists that take care of Cruz. You have a company that wants to leave Indiana and go someplace and they say you can’t do it. They go and they see Cruz or they see this one or that one– any one of them. And you know what happens? 100 percent [they say] ‘Go ahead folks,’ so it’s not in the best interest of our country and we’re going to change it. They’re all bought off by campaign contributions and Super PAC money. We’re not going to let it happen anymore because you’re being affected.