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Trump Can’t Seem to Make Up His Mind About EVs at Michigan Rally

Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

In one of several lengthy tangents during a campaign stop in Michigan, former President Donald Trump went on a self-contradictory rant about electric vehicles.

After complaining about having to deliver a lowered $175 million bond in his bank fraud case earlier on Tuesday morning, Trump veered into one of his most inflationary policies—putting tariffs on electric vehicles—before later encouraging Americans to buy them if they’re so inclined.

“I’m gonna sign a bill where we’re gonna tariff your cars and all of the other things that you send in to hurt Michigan,” Trump said, recalling a threat he made early in his term in an attempt to force former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to provide troops along the border, “and, regardless of that, because the new threat is China building factories—not with me they weren’t—in Mexico, they’re gonna build cars in Mexico and sell them, and they think they’re gonna sell them over our border with no tax. Not gonna happen.”

Trump’s proposed tariffs on EVs and other imports coming from China would be as high as 60%. Economists have called the proposal not just inflationary but “recessionary.”

The former president then went on a tangent within a tangent. Trump purported to have recently spoken with “a friend of mine who builds plants, that’s all he can do—he can’t walk across the street, but he can build car plants,” in an attempt to illustrate the economic threat of electric vehicles being manufactured in Mexico.

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Imported EVs “will be tariffed to a level that those cars will not happen,” Trump said.

Yet not long after, Trump claimed he wants Americans to buy an electric car if they want one.

“The electric vehicle one is one of the dumbest I’ve ever heard, too,” Trump said, meandering away from the ostensible main topic of the “Biden’s Border Bloodbath” rally on immigration. “...And I want people to buy an electric car, if you want one, but I want them to buy every other form of transportation, every other—I want you to use gasoline a lot, because we have more gasoline than any other country anywhere in the world.”

“They have that,” Trump continued, referring to China and electric vehicles. “We have gasoline.”

At another point, Trump said “if you want an electric car, you can buy it, but you’re gonna be able to buy every other form of push—every other form of car, and engine, and motor that you want.”

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