Donald Trump’s quest for the White House zeroed in on General Electric’s decision to move its headquarters to Boston over the weekend, as the real estate mogul and reality TV star said Connecticut voters should mark their ballots in his favor out of displeasure with the company’s impending departure for the Bay State.
GE said it would consider options for a new home last year in protest of Connecticut’s tax structure, and announced the move to Boston in January. Company officials are moving into temporary space in Boston this month, and the new 800-employee campus is planned for completion in 2018.
At a Saturday night rally in Fairfield, home to GE’s headquarters since the 1970s, Trump pointed to the move as something “that never should have happened” and took aim at Gov. Dannel Malloy.
“How did you lose General Electric? Bad governor, you’ve got a bad governor. Any governor that would lose General Electric hasn’t done his job, let me tell you,” Trump said.
“You wouldn’t leave if Trump was governor, I guarantee you that,” he added.
Trump, of course, isn’t running for governor of Connecticut. But he said voters there should choose him for president to spite Malloy, who supports Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
“I can’t believe it. General Electric, one of the great, great, monster, great companies — you lost it,” he said. “So, you’ve got to vote for Trump. You’ve got to vote for Trump just as a signal to your incompetent governor that you’re not going to take it anymore. … Do it as a protest vote against your governor for losing General Electric.”
Trump also reflected on Malloy’s first name, saying he had previously thought the governor’s name was Daniel or Dan.
“Dannel? I’ve never heard of Dannel,” he said.
Malloy is unpopular in Connecticut with an approval rating of 29 percent, according to a poll earlier this year. But Connecticut is a reliably Democratic state, where Clinton has a greater than 94 percent chance of victory in November, according to election forecasting website FiveThirtyEight. Trump’s decision to campaign in longshot Connecticut was the focus of some Republicans’ consternation over the weekend.
Trump’s plea for Connecticut votes, if only as an indirect protest of Malloy, calls to mind the candidate’s past arguments that Republicans who do not personally like him “have no choice” but to vote for him to keep a conservative majority on the Supreme Court.
Later in his speech, Trump seemed to acknowledge that GE’s decision to move to Boston — which was influenced in part by $145 million in state and city incentives — was a state issue, as opposed to his campaign’s concerns with companies that move outside the U.S.
“General Electric is moving to Boston, OK?” he said, according to NBC. “See, that’s competition. That’s something you gotta fight for yourselves. OK? It’s all the same. But General Electric is moving to Boston. Not even moving to Mexico. Or one of these places where they roll out the red carpet.”
In GE’s new home, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, who worked with Democratic Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to lure the company across state lines, has said he will not vote for Trump. GE CEO Jeff Immelt has also criticized the candidate, telling Vanity Fair in a recent interview that though he found Trump “fun to work with,” his comments on Mexicans and Muslims during the campaign are “unacceptable to us.”