UPDATE: This story has been updated with response from the Biden campaign.
Former President Donald Trump plans to visit Michigan and speak to union workers as United Auto Workers are on strike at the Big Three automakers, The New York Times reported.
The former president intends to meet with workers and skip the second Republican presidential debate.
Trump wants to put himself in the middle of the labor standoff and intends to travel to Detroit on Sept. 27, the day of the debate, and speak to current and union members, including autoworkers, the newspaper said, citing Trump advisers.
It said Trump wants to be seen as the likely candidate to challenge President Joe Biden.
“Mr. Trump has not directly addressed the wage demands of striking workers and has attacked union leadership, but he has tried to more broadly cast himself on the side of autoworkers,” The Times said.
The Biden-Harris 2024 campaign said in a statement that Trump had abandoned union workers while president and stood with “his ultra-rich friends.”
“Donald Trump is going to Michigan next week to lie to Michigan workers and pretend he didn’t spend his entire failed presidency selling them out at every turn. Instead of standing with workers, Trump cut taxes for the super-wealthy while auto companies shuttered their doors and shipped American jobs overseas. He’s said he would’ve let auto companies go bankrupt, devastating the industry and upending millions of lives,” spokesperson Ammar Moussa said in a statement.
The contract for nearly 150,000 UAW members expired at 11:59 p.m. Sept. 14, leading to the strike. It is the first time in the UAW’s 88-year history that all three of the Detroit automakers, Ford, General Motors and Stellantis, are the strike targets.
About 13,000 workers were picked to strike on Friday, with Monday the fourth day of the strike.
The parties negotiated over the weekend and talks continue.
Ford’s Assembly Plant in Wayne is the strike target against Ford and the only Michigan plant selected. Ford issued layoffs for 600 UAW workers who were not on strike.
The Times said that Trump’s campaign is considering if he could show up at the picket line but said logistics would be difficult.