At least a few people who attended former President Donald Trump’s speech to auto workers on Wednesday evening were not who they purported to be, according to a report on the event, with some admitting they were neither union members nor auto workers.
According to a report written by The Detroit News’s Craig Mauger, around 400 to 500 Trump supporters attended the speech, which was given at a Drake Enterprises auto parts facility. That company is not represented by any union, including the United Auto Workers (UAW), which is currently striking against the Big Three automakers in the U.S.
Drake Enterprises only employs around 150 workers, and it’s unclear who the other attendees at the Trump speech — which was intended to be directed specifically toward auto workers — actually were. It’s likely that those present were community members rather than people employed by the company, as Clinton Township, where the facility is located, was near-evenly split between Trump and President Joe Biden in the 2020 election.
Upon being approached by The Detroit News, some individuals who attended the event admitted that the signs they held weren’t representative of their identities.
“One individual in the crowd who held a sign that said ‘union members for Trump,’ acknowledged that she wasn’t a union member when approached by a Detroit News reporter after the event,” Mauger’s report stated. “Another person with a sign that read ‘auto workers for Trump’ said he wasn’t an auto worker when asked for an interview.”
Neither of the individuals cited in the report would provide their names to the publication.
This isn’t the first time that attendees of a Trump event have attempted to mislead the media about their identities. After Trump first announced he was running for president in 2015, it was alleged that a casting agency had hired actors to attend the announcement on behalf of the Trump campaign. (Years later, that allegation was confirmed to be true.)
Trump, who spent part of his speech pushing the dubious claim that UAW negotiations with the Big Three automakers would be unsuccessful because of policies from the Biden administration, also implored UAW members to convince union president Shawn Fain to endorse Trump for president in 2024. Earlier this week, however, Fain condemned Trump for his planned appearance at Drake Enterprises in an interview on CNN, calling it “pathetic irony” that he chose a non-union shop to give his speech to striking workers elsewhere.
Trump’s comments were “nothing more than a PR stunt” designed to “distract and gaslight” workers, Fain added, noting Trump had taken anti-union stances in the past and had refused to support the UAW during a strike while he was president.
The stakes have never been higher (and our need for your support has never been greater).
For over two decades, Truthout’s journalists have worked tirelessly to give our readers the news they need to understand and take action in an increasingly complex world. At a time when we should be reaching even more people, big tech has suppressed independent news in their algorithms and drastically reduced our traffic. Less traffic this year has meant a sharp decline in donations.
The fact that you’re reading this message gives us hope for Truthout’s future and the future of democracy. As we cover the news of today and look to the near and distant future we need your help to keep our journalists writing.
Please do what you can today to help us keep working for the coming months and beyond.