A new report confirms that Democrats are panicking about former President Donald Trump’s decision to skip the second GOP primary debate to meet with auto union workers amid their strike — with some Democrats declaring the move “kinda genius” and worrying that he is outmaneuvering President Joe Biden.
The New York Times reported on Monday that Trump had made the decision to skip the debate — which is scheduled for September 27 — and is instead going to be headed to Detroit, Michigan, to meet with auto workers and give a speech. This news came just days after the United Auto Workers went on strike.
As Trump is the clear frontrunner in the Republican primary, his decision to skip the debate in favor of meeting with union workers shows that his campaign is looking past the primary and focusing on campaigning against Biden, according to the New York Times.
Now, a new report from Politico shows that Democrats are concerned about this.
“Trump scooped us. Now if we announce we’re going, it looks like we’re just going because of Trump. We waited too long. That’s the challenge,” an unnamed Democratic strategist who spoke with the outlet stated.
A union adviser who spoke with Politico noted that Trump’s decision to visit Detroit before Biden shows that the former president “actually has people who know what they’re doing.”
“He boxed Biden in. It was kinda genius,” the union adviser added.
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) agreed with these assessments. The California Democrat, who is assisting Biden with the auto workers’ strike, asserted that the president has failed to put forward a good campaign message that resonates with working-class Americans such as those who are currently on strike.
“We should not underestimate Donald Trump. He’s a survivor and this is going to be a very hard-fought campaign,” Khanna argued in a statement to Politico.
“We need a message to working-class Americans,” he continued. “Right now, they’re still hurting in terms of gas prices, food prices, housing costs, utilities costs, and they don’t feel like their wages are going up fast enough, and they feel like the very wealthy are getting too much of the rewards. That’s what I heard on the picket lines.”
Even the far-left hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” praised Trump’s decision — calling it a “bold” and “smart” move.
Meanwhile, the White House and the Biden campaign are still insisting that Trump is not “outmaneuvering” the president — especially because Democrats almost always win endorsements from unions.
However, Politico did note that while the union machine endorses Democrats, Trump won “many rank-and-file union members in 2016.”
"Trump! Trump! Trump! Trump! Trump! Trump!"
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) March 10, 2020
Now, the White House is at odds with the unions after canceling plans to send two top aides to Detroit — which the Trump campaign is very likely to exploit this tension during the former president’s visit to Detroit, building upon Trump’s momentum with rank-and-file union members.
The Trump campaign has already begun airing radio ads supporting the auto union workers on strike ahead of his visit.
“All they’ve ever wanted is to compete fairly worldwide and get their fair share of the American dream,” the ads state, according to the New York Times. “Donald Trump calls them great Americans and has always had their backs.”