By Kevin Breuninger, CNBC.com
President Donald Trump on Monday tore into General Motors for its newly announced plan to halt production at multiple plants in the U.S. and Canada, telling reporters that he warned GM CEO Mary Barra that her company was "playing around with the wrong person."
GM's plan to cease operations at plants in Ohio, Michigan, Maryland and Ontario by next year — and to cut back production at two other plants, as well — will cost up to $3.8 billion and shrink the Detroit-based carmaker by more than 14,000 jobs, or about 15 percent of its salaried staff.
Trump told The Wall Street Journal in an interview Monday that he spoke with Barra on Sunday night to discuss the downsizing plan. He told her that GM should stop making cars in China and open a new plant in Ohio to replace the ones being closed.
"They better damn well open a new plant there very quickly," Trump told the Journal. "I love Ohio," Trump said. "I told them, 'you're playing around with the wrong person,'" he added, according to the newspaper.
Trump continued: "I said, 'I heard you're closing your plant,'" he recalled from his conversation with Barra. "'It's not going to be closed for long, I hope, Mary, because if it is you have a problem.'"
The president, who had lamented the empty factories and depressed rural towns when he visited the state in July 2017, had promised the state's residents that their jobs are "all coming back." He won the state in 2016 by more than 8 percentage points.
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