The backdrop for presumptive republican presidential nominee Donald Trump might have said more than the bombastic businessman and reality show host yesterday. Trump gave a speech at the Monessen, Pa., plant of Alumisource, a company that provides shredded aluminum products and fines used in the production of deoxidation, desulphurization and artificial slag conditioners to the steel industry.
Talking about trade with piles of shredded scrap and fines surrounding him, Trump called the North American Free Trade Agreement a “disaster” and said he would renegotiate it to get a better deal “by a lot, not just a little,” for American workers. He also threatened to withdraw the U.S. from the deal if his proposals aren’t agreed to.
Trump’s rhetoric was welcomed by a mostly receptive audience in the Rust Belt city of 7,500. As a native Western Pennsylvanian, it’s understandable, to me, that both Monessen and Alumisource could accurately portray the image of a “manufacturing city” that the campaign is trying to convey and whose voters it’s trying to reach.
Trade War Rhetoric
“We already have a trade war,” Trump said. “And we’re losing badly.”
Trump then pivoted to dealing with China and other countries that manipulate their currencies to increase exports and said he would use “every tool under American and international law to end these abuses”.
He painted democratic presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton as a NAFTA supporter, a globalist and an agent of the status quo. There will no doubt be a rhetorical back-and-forth between Trump and the Clinton campaign. Western Pennsylvania is still strong union country and most are supporting Clinton, including the United Steelworkers. Yet the fact that companies such as Alumisource are now being sought out as campaign stops shows how much more important American manufacturing is seen to be, as an issue, this election cycle than it has been since at least 2000. Read more