“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”
That syrupy line from the sappy movie “Love Story” explains why President Donald J. Trump has never told the Mahoning Valley he’s sorry that more than 4,000 high-paying jobs disappeared when General Motors’ Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra pulled the plug on the 53-year-old sprawling manufacturing complex in Lordstown.
Trump, who huffed and puffed but failed to blow Barra’s house down, also never said he’s sorry for raising the hopes of the people of this region with empty political promises.
But the president doesn’t have to use the s-word because he really, really loves the Mahoning Valley. As the characters played by Ali McGraw and Ryan O’Neil in the 1970 movie emoted, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”
(At this stage, the theme song from the movie should be rattling around in your brain.)
So, how do we know that Trump spends each day blowing kisses to this heavily Democratic region that has an inexplicable attraction to him?
Consider this comment from Ohio Republican Party Chairwoman Jane Timken, who was in Youngstown Thursday to slam the Democratic candidates for president.
“He knows and loves the Valley,” Timken said of President Trump. She added: “In my opinion, the people in the Mahoning Valley are fantastic people with great work ethics. They want a good paying job. The president knows that. He wants to create jobs in this area, and he’s going to keep fighting.”
Create jobs? Let’s look at the facts: When Trump, as president, held a campaign-style rally in July 2017 at the Covelli Centre attended by about 7,000 true believers, he promised to reopen the huge steel mills that once dotted the banks of the Mahoning River and pledged to boost the number of auto manufacturing jobs in the country by forcing GM, Chrysler and Ford to close plants abroad and reopen them in the U.S.
He uttered these infamous words that are etched on the hearts of all his Democratic supporters who don’t care that they’ve been sold a bill of goods:
“I rode through your beautiful roads coming from the airport, and I was looking at some of those big, once incredible job-producing factories, and my wife, Melania, said, ‘What happened?’ I said, ‘Those jobs have left Ohio.’”
The president’s “promise” to the people of the Mahoning Valley triggered a roar of approval from his adoring supporters:
“They’re all coming back. They’re all coming back. Don’t move. Don’t sell your house ... Do not sell it. We’re going to get those values up. We’re going to get those jobs coming back, and we’re going to fill up those factories or rip them down and build brand new ones. It’s going to happen.”
Yes, Trump really, really loves the Mahoning Valley.
You can almost hear the president doing his best Andy Williams imitation:
“Where do I begin/To tell the story of how great a love can be/The sweet love story that is older than the sea/The simple truth about the love [the Valley] brings to me/Where do I start …”
But it wasn’t just GOP Chairwoman Timken who talked to Vindicator Reporter David Skolnick about Trump’s love for the Valley.
Here’s what Bob Paduchik, senior adviser to the Trump 2020 campaign and his 2016 Ohio chairman, told Skolnick a few months ago:
“He loves the Valley. I’m not sure if we can get him back to the Canfield Fair again like we did last time.” All the security concerns that go along with being president were not a factor in 2016 when candidate Trump made a brief appearance at the fair Sept. 5.
So here’s a question for Timken, Paduchik and all the others who insist that Trump really, really cares about this region: Does his absence mean that his heart is getting fonder?
General Motors padlocked its huge assembly plant in March, and Trump has been nowhere to be found – at least not in the Valley.
It’s not as though he’s steering clear of this part of the country.
Consider: Friday night, the president attended a private fundraiser outside Cleveland. On July 24, he is scheduled to be in Wheeling, W. Va., for a private fundraiser. Wheeling is less than 100 miles from Lordstown.
Ohio’s Republican governor, Mike DeWine, is supposed to join Trump at an event hosted by coal baron Robert Murray. Aaah, the sweet smell of global warming.
In March, Trump attended a high-dollar fundraiser at Canton’s Brookside Country Club, less than 50 miles from the now shuttered GM Lordstown plant.
On Aug. 1, Trump is scheduled to host a Keep America Great rally at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati.
According to his re-election campaign, it will be the 29th rally Trump has held in Ohio and the fourth rally in Cincinnati since he first began his race for president in June 2015.
Here’s a stunning comment from Michael Glassner, chief operating officer of Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.:
“President Trump looks forward to celebrating his achievements with the great men and women of Ohio.”
The closing of the GM assembly plant in Lordstown and the empty banks of the Mahoning River – like the circles that you find in the steel mills of your mind – certainly don’t meet the definition of achievements, but who cares, Trump really, really loves the Valley.
Staying on the Love Boat theme, how about this one for his re-election campaign in the Valley:
“Love is lovelier the second time around.”