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Trump warns of tax hikes, EV doom in Michigan rally. Here are the facts

Trump speaks on stage in Freeland, Michigan
Former President Donald Trump used his latest Michigan rally to warn of middle class tax hikes the Biden administration says won’t happen. (Bridge photo by Dale Young)
  • Donald Trump rallied with thousands of Michigan supporters — and railed on President Joe Biden — in Saginaw County
  • The former president claimed his rival would raise taxes, but Biden has pledged not to do so for anyone earning less than $400,000.
  • Trump also bemoaned an ongoing shift to electric vehicles, inflating claims it will soon lead to decimation of Michigan’s signature industry

FREELAND — Donald Trump blasted President Joe Biden on taxes, electric vehicles, immigration and more on Wednesday during his latest campaign rally in Michigan’s swing region of Saginaw County.

“It's a disaster if Joe Biden wins this election — the middle class loses,” the former president and presumed Republican nominee told a crowd of thousands outside an airport hangar. “But if Trump wins, the middle class wins.”

Trump led off his Michigan speech with concerns about the future of tax cuts he signed in the White House, many of which are set to expire in 2025. 

Biden won’t extend the law, he said, suggesting that would result in a tax hike of almost $2,000 for individuals earning $75,000 a year, and roughly $3,000 for a family of four earning $165,000. 


He promised to “deliver a Trump middle-class tax cut” instead.

Biden has noted that portions of the Trump tax cut law are set to expire. "And if I’m reelected, it’s going to stay expired,” he said last month, criticizing GOP tax policy that “overwhelmingly benefited … the wealthy.”

But Trump’s warning of a looming middle-class tax hike under Biden contradicts recent comments by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who this week told a U.S. House committee the president remains committed to his previous campaign pledge to not raise taxes on Americans who earn less than $400,000 a year. 

“He has not proposed such a thing since he took office, and he’s not proposing to allow that to happen” when parts of the act expire, she said during the hearing.

Elsewhere in his third Michigan speech of 2024, Trump covered his concerns about the Biden administration’s electric vehicle strategy — a favorite topic in the union-heavy state — as well as his stance on immigration and culturally divisive issues like abortion and what’s being taught in schools. 

Critics argue that Trump’s comments don’t reflect how his policies have played out in Michigan. 

“These visits don’t mask the fact that he has failed Michiganders for years and doesn’t actually care about helping them in the future,” Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes said in a statement. 

An electric vehicle ‘bloodbath’

Trump on Wednesday reiterated claims that an ongoing shift toward electric vehicles will destroy Michigan jobs, promising to walk back the “insane electric vehicle mandate” and “bring the car industry back to Michigan.” 

Trump said he’s not inherently opposed to electric vehicles — “whatever the hell you want, you should be able to get” — but claimed Biden administration emissions rules and a goal to have electric vehicles comprise half of new vehicle sales by 2030 will “rip out your auto jobs and send them immediately to China.”

Trump supporters in Michigan
Fans of Donald Trump flocked to the MBS International Airport in Freeland for the former president’s latest campaign rally. CUTLINE: (Bridge photo by Dale Young)

EVs made up about 6% of new U.S. car sales in 2022, double from a year earlier, according to Barron’s. There is no mandate in place requiring increased electric vehicle use, and recent concessions by the Biden administration will allow automakers to count hybrid vehicles for the purposes of complying with new emissions standards. 

General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Stellantis NA, each of which has tens of thousands of workers in Michigan, continue to make billions of dollars in investment in retooling product lines toward electrification but are grappling with slower-than-expected sales growth. 

The full impact on auto jobs is not yet known, but Business Insider reported in 2022 that 30% to 40% less labor will be required for a comparable fleet of EVs to gasoline-powered vehicles.

Today, about 8% of Michigan’s 600,000 manufacturing jobs are in automotive assembly. If there is a 40% drop in workers, based on the Business Insider estimate, that would mean a loss of more than 19,000 automotive assembly jobs. 

Democrats maintain that Biden administration investments in clean energy and infrastructure will create similar jobs in new sectors. 

During a media event at IBEW Local 58 in Detroit Tuesday, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan touted Biden’s efforts to incorporate union workers into clean energy jobs and argued Detroit is helped by a president “who sees the world through the eyes of folks trying to make a good living every day.” 


During his Wednesday rally at MBS International Airport in Freeland,  Trump echoed remarks he made last month during an immigration-focused speech in Grand Rapids, claiming the Biden border policies have made the U.S. a “dumping ground” for foreign criminals. 

He advocated for stricter immigration enforcement along the U.S.-Mexico border and a ban on so-called “sanctuary cities” that don’t cooperate with federal deportation orders. 

Democrats contend Trump’s rhetoric on immigration rings hollow after he encouraged Senate Republicans to back out of a bipartisan border deal aimed at reducing illegal crossings, and others are concerned the former president’s rhetoric will harm members of vulnerable communities.

Since Biden took office and rolled back several Trump-era restrictions, illegal border crossings have averaged about 2 million per year, the highest level in history, according to federal data reported by the Washington Post

Trump on stage in Michigan
Donald Trump, the presumed Republican presidential nominee, used his latest Michigan rally to bemoan what he called a pending electric vehicle ‘bloodbath.’ (Bridge photo by Dale Young)

While crime statistics lag, the most recent data shows the number of murders in Michigan fell during Biden's first two years of office after peaking at 760 in 2020, the final year of Trump's tenure that was marked by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Most research indicates immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native residents, regardless of their legal status, according to a 2019 study by the Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State University.

Legal woes

Fighting criminal charges that threaten his latest bid for the White House, Trump suggested he is facing harsher treatment than notorious mobster Al Capone.

“Has anyone ever heard about him?,” Trump said of Capone, the Chicago-based crime boss who purportedly had several hideouts throughout Michigan.

“He would kill people if he looked at them and didn’t like them … He got indicted less than I did.” 

That's not true, however. Capone was indicted on more than 5,000 violations under the prohibition-era Volstead Act, according to federal records. 

Trump's campaign rally in Saginaw County came in the midst of a New York "hush money" trial focused on allegations he used campaign funds to keep an adult film star from going public with adultery allegations ahead of the 2016 election. 

Judge Juan Merchan on Tuesday held Trump in contempt of court for making critical statements of jurors and witnesses in the case. Another hearing is expected Thursday. 

Trump is also battling federal charges for his alleged role in a plot to overturn 2020 election results in swing states like Michigan, along with related criminal charges in Georgia. 

Trump vehemently denied wrongdoing during his Michigan speech, bemoaning what he called “fake cases.”

Michigan is ‘ground zero’

With months to go yet before the November election, Trump’s Saginaw County stop is merely the latest in a slew of visits to Michigan by Trump, Biden and their surrogates, pointing to the state’s continued importance in the upcoming contest.

Biden made a brief campaign stop in Saginaw County in March. And earlier Wednesday, his campaign announced the president would be visiting Detroit later this month to speak at an NAACP dinner that attracts thousands of attendees. 

Michigan voters should get used to the presence of both major party candidates in the run-up to the Nov. 5 general election, said David Dulio, political science professor and director of Oakland University’s Center for Civic Engagement.

“This is not the last time that we'll see Donald Trump,” he said. “We will see Joe Biden a lot, we will see their surrogates a lot. 

“Michigan is going to be ground zero.” 

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