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Ivanka Trump touts White House support for American workers in visit with GM CEO Mary Barra


Ivanka Trump, advisor to President Donald Trump, her father, (left to right) tours a General Motors training facility in suburban Detroit with GM CEO Mary Barra and Deputy Secretary U.S. Department of Commerce Karen Dunn Kelley on Sept. 2, 2020.

Michael Wayland / CNBC

WARREN, Mich. – White House advisor Ivanka Trump touted President Donald Trump’s support for American workers Wednesday in Michigan as her father seeks support from blue-collar workers in his re-election campaign.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra led Ivanka Trump on a tour of a new GM training facility on the automaker’s global tech and design headquarters in suburban Detroit. Ivanka Trump actively engaged with employees and trainees, including an elbow bump with at least one and discussions with several others. She also heard about initiatives the automaker is taking to train new and veteran employees.

“This is something that the president has been passionate about since the day he took office, championing the American worker and creating more pathways and opportunities for the American workers,” Ivanka Trump said.

Both the White House and GM downplayed the tour as a campaign event for President Donald Trump, saying Barra invited the president’s daughter to visit the facility last year and this was one of the first opportunities for both to attend due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ivanka Trump, adviser to President Donald Trump, her father, speaks with employees during a tour of a General Motors training facility in suburban Detroit on Sept. 2, 2020.

Michael Wayland / CNBC

But the tour comes at a critical time for the president’s re-election bid in a swing state such as Michigan. Polls show that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has consistently led the president throughout the general election, although some polls have showed the race tightening in the past week.

Ivanka Trump was solely in Michigan for the tour. She did not hold any fundraising events or take questions from a small group of media attending the event.

“This has been a trip we’ve been wanting to do for some time,” Ivanka Trump said. “Since the earliest days of the administration, Mary and I have been discussing the critical importance of investing in America’s students and workers.”

Barra, who is not expected to endorse a presidential candidate, said the company was “happy” to demonstrate how the company is assisting in training its workforce.

“Technology is changing so quickly,” Barra said. “We’ve invested in creating a new facility and we’re in process of creating another facility” with a $10 million investment for employee training.

Ivanka Trump, adviser to President Donald Trump, her father, (left) tours a General Motors training facility in suburban Detroit with GM CEO Mary on Sept. 2, 2020.

Michael Wayland / CNBC

The GM program is based on an initiative that began in 2017, focused on improving the technical ability of the automaker’s skilled trade workers and salaried manufacturing engineers. Since its inception, GM has has trained more than 300 employees. The automaker expects to train 3,600 employees by the end of 2023.

GM was an early supporter of the White House’s advertising campaign that urges those who are jobless or unhappy with their current positions to “Find Something New.”

Ivanka Trump’s tour comes roughly three years after her first visit to Detroit following her father’s election to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, in schools.

— CNBC’s Christina Wilkie contributed to this report.



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