Donald Trump AFL_CIO

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Donald Trump celebrates Labor Day by ripping union leader

Trump didn't take the day off from Twitter.


Josh Katzowitz


Posted on Sep 3, 2018   Updated on May 21, 2021, 7:23 am CDT

The U.S. Department of Labor declares on its website that Labor Day is “a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.”

But President Donald Trump has a different idea of how to honor the national holiday—by attacking the head of one of the country’s most powerful unions.

On Monday, Trump wrote, “Richard Trumka, the head of the AFL-CIO, represented his union poorly on television this weekend. Some of the things he said were so against the working men and women of our country, and the success of the U.S. itself, that it is easy to see why unions are doing so poorly. A Dem!”

Earlier on Monday, Trump penned two tweets that were more in line with what a typical U.S. president might proclaim on Labor Day (though there was also a healthy dose of back-patting from Trump).

According to the Associated Press, Trumka likely raised Trump’s ire by appearing on Fox on Sunday and saying that the president should include Canada in his efforts to reshape the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) since Canada and Mexico are “integrated” in the U.S. economy.

“It’s pretty hard to see how that would work without having Canada in the deal,” Trumka said.

A day earlier on Twitter, Trump threatened to leave Canada out of a new agreement.

“There is no political necessity to keep Canada in the new NAFTA deal,” Trump tweeted. “If we don’t make a fair deal for the U.S. after decades of abuse, Canada will be out. Congress should not interfere w/ these negotiations or I will simply terminate NAFTA entirely & we will be far better off … Remember, NAFTA was one of the WORST Trade Deals ever made. The U.S. lost thousands of businesses and millions of jobs. We were far better off before NAFTA—should never have been signed. Even the Vat Tax was not accounted for. We make new deal or go back to pre-NAFTA!”

It’s unclear, though, if Trump can actually terminate NAFTA without going through Congress.

In his interview, Trumka also said he was unimpressed with Trump’s work on the U.S. economy. Asked about the low unemployment rate and the steady economy, Trumka said, “Those are good, but wages have been down since the first of the year. Gas prices have been up since the first of the year. So, overall, workers aren’t doing as well.”

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*First Published: Sep 3, 2018, 1:16 pm CDT