What to know about the auto supplier Trump is visiting in Michigan

What to know about the auto supplier Trump is visiting in Michigan

Former President Donald Trump is scheduled to visit a Macomb County automotive supplier of engine and transmission parts Wednesday, the day after President Joe Biden is set to visit a United Auto Workers picket line in Wayne County.

Trump’s camp confirmed Saturday that he will « deliver remarks » at Clinton Township-based Drake Enterprises Inc. at 8 p.m. Wednesday, according to a news advisory on his website.

The UAW does not represent workers at the supplier, according to a person familiar with the matter.

It is not clear how many people will attend, but Clinton Township Supervisor Bob Cannon said he was told the event is invitation-only.

« We will have a strong police presence, » Cannon said. « We want to make sure that people can flow freely and that everyone is safe. »

Biden and Trump, both running for a second term as president, will arrive to a community on edge. The UAW’s strike against the Detroit 3 automakers cost the economy roughly $1.6 billion in the first week, before the union expanded its strike to include 38 parts distribution centers across the nation — 13 of them in Michigan.

Crain’s Detroit Business reached out to Drake on Monday for comment on the event.

Lee Temple, chairman of the supplier, represents the second generation of Drake ownership.

The company, founded in 1952, has more than 125 employees across two manufacturing plants spanning more than 150,000 square feet, according to its website.

Drake supplies machined parts for engines and transmissions, and its customers include the Detroit 3, Eaton, GKN Automotive, Mercedes, Volvo, Freightliner, Peterbilt, Kenworth and Nexteer Automotive.

Per its product portfolio, Drake fits the bill of automotive suppliers likely to face challenges in the transition to electric vehicles. Home to thousands of such companies tied to internal combustion engines, Michigan in general and Macomb County in particular are significantly exposed to the decline of gas power in automotive.

Trump has made the auto industry’s electric shift — and the risk of jobs lost to it — a major part of his campaign platform for re-election. On Saturday, he took to social media site Truth Social to call it the « ridiculous all Electric Car Hoax » and said Biden only made plans to visit picketing autoworkers after Trump announced his trip to Michigan.

Biden, who calls himself the most pro-union president in history, will defend his green-energy agenda that includes pushing the electric vehicles efforts.

Trump will have an escort by Michigan State Police and the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office to and from the event, Cannon said. The former president’s travel route has not been released, but Selfridge Air National Guard Base is only a few miles from Drake’s plant.

« I want to make sure there is no confrontation, » Cannon said. « They can talk all they want. Just please come and go home safe. »

— Automotive News reporter Michael Martinez contributed to this report.

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