Trump's rally to UAW members at non-union plant blasted by Fain as 'pathetic irony'

On the heels of President Joe Biden's visit to the autoworker union picket lines will come former President Donald Trump, who is skipping the second Republican debate to speak to workers at a facility in Macomb County.

Trump previously labeled his remarks as showing solidarity with the UAW workers on strike. However, he'll be giving his speech from a non-union auto parts plant at an event that is invite-only. 

He's likely to get an icy reception from UAW leadership as well. The union president spoke with a national cable news Tuesday night, calling it "pathetic irony" that Trump would hold a rally for union members at a non-union business. 

In a statement after Biden's visit to Belleville Tuesday, he called the move "nothing more than a PR stunt" meant to "distract and gaslight" citizens from his administration. 

Trump's visit to Michigan comes at a fluid time in the 2024 general election race. Seen as the front-running for the Republican Party, the former president skipped the first debate to give remarks elsewhere. He's recently posted on his social media that the party should pay less attention to the upcoming primaries and instead focus on the general election.

Michigan is likely going to play a role in the 2024 race for president. Blue collar workers make up a key demographic and voting bloc for both Democrats and Republicans and depending on how it votes could help one candidate win the state.

MORE: Biden tells UAW workers: 'Stick with it, you deserve a significant raise'

When and where will Trump speak

Trump will be in Clinton Township to speak at Drake Enterprises, an auto parts supplier. 

He is scheduled to give remarks at 8 p.m. Doors open at 4 p.m.

What is Drake Enterprises?

The supplier builds gear shift levers, engine components, and parts for transmissions in heavy trucks, according to its website. Its clients include brands from all three Detroit automakers as well as several other manufacturers.

It employs 125 workers and in 2019, it expanded its operations when it announced it would open a second manufacturing facility. 

On Facebook, it wrote it was excited to host Trump for the rally

According to the Michigan AFL-CIO, which encompasses several union groups, Drake Enterprises is a non-union manufacturer and supplier

Trump and unions

Among the themes that Trump has railed against and likely will touch on again Wednesday is electric vehicles. Among the biggest policies pushed by the Biden administration is the need to pivot the auto industry toward more battery-powered vehicles.

That has big implications for unions who face an uncertain future as new kinds of vehicles start rolling off the line. This round of negotiations may be the last best chance to secure contracts before the pivot becomes permanent.

Fain has previously said the argument that EVs are bad is an attractive one for some members and warned Biden that he shouldn't forget about that piece of the debate.

According to Axios, Trump secured 43% of the union vote in 2016, helping him tip states like Michigan. Biden reclaimed some of the votes along the way to his 2020 vote. The dueling visits to Michigan underscore just how important those margins are. 

But one thing is certain, Trump does not have the favor of Fain, who spoke to CNN's Wolf Blitzer Tuesday night, chastising Trump for the placement of his rally. 

"I find the pathetic irony that the former president is going to hold a rally for union members at a non-union business and all you have to do is look at his track record," he said, referring to comments Trump made about workers in 2008 and 2015 and then as president in 2019, the last time that workers went on strike.

"Our workers at GM were on strike for 60 days. For two months, they were on the picket lines. I didn't see him hold a rally, I didn't see him stand on the picket lines. And I sure as hell didn't see him comment on it. He was missing in action," he said. "I see no point in meeting with him because I don't think the man has any bit of care about what our workers stand for, what the working class stands for. He serves the billionaire class and that's what's wrong with this country."

Here's what Biden said during his visit to the picket line