A manufacturing plant owner who voted for President Donald Trump in 2016 is not only calling out his lies about his trade war with China, he plans to vote Democrat in 2020.
Trump’s tariffs against China have had a devastating impact on farmers across the country, many of whom have gone bankrupt because the trade war resulted in China no longer buying agricultural products from the United States. It will take decades for farmers to recover if they are able to recover at all from these devastating blows.
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The trade war has also damaged the manufacturing sector, with only half the number of jobs being created now than in the previous two years. Whole industries are suffering job losses.
But then there are those manufacturing businesses that are caught directly in the middle as their source of income depends on farmers to buy the equipment they make, such as tractors and harvesters.
Kuhn North America president Greg Petras employs 600 people in Wisconsin to manufacture farm equipment.
In 2016, he voted for Trump because he liked Trump’s pro-business rhetoric.
“I defaulted to the Republican ticket thinking pro-business,” he told Bloomberg, which released a report on how the fortunes of his company have fared in recent months.
A plant that just four years ago was humming along to a record $400 million in sales together with a sister plant in Kansas is running at 50% capacity. The five-year-old, $11 million paint shop that coats the company’s manure spreaders and livestock feeders in a distinctive ‘Kuhn Red’ is at 39% capacity. Plans for a new $4 million research and development building are on hold.
In just two years, the plant went from full strength and plans to expand to putting those plans on hold and furloughing employees to save money.
Another such furlough could happen next month if things don’t improve, but the situation appears to only be getting worse as Trump doubles down on tariffs and the country slips further into recession territory.
Trump’s lies about the tariffs not being paid for by Americans aren’t helping him either. In fact, they are only angering businessmen like Petras even further.
“It’s just an outright lie, and he knows it,” Petras said. “You’re slamming your fist on the steering wheel and saying ‘Why would you tell people this?’”
Indeed, why? It’s because Trump refuses to acknowledge that his policies are hurting Americans, especially the Americans who voted for him, many of whom are farmers and manufacturers like Petras who trusted that Trump would do what is best for business so they could thrive.
Instead, he betrayed them and is costing them their livelihoods.
But Petras, like many others, will not vote for Trump in 2020, telling Bloomberg that he intends to vote for the Democrat running against him.
And in a swing state like Wisconsin, that’s a major blow to an incumbent president who is already losing in most of the swing states he won the first time around.
And Trump only has himself to blame for refusing to acknowledge that he was wrong and for refusing to do something to fix the damage he caused. As the shadow of recession looms over the country, he can expect even more of his supporters to turn on him as their own futures are cast in doubt because of his trade war blunder.
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