US President Donald Trump on Wednesday thanked General Motors Co, Toyota Motor Corp, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, and other major automakers for “standing with” his efforts to bar California from setting its own vehicle emissions rules for cars and trucks. “California has treated the Auto Industry very poorly for many years, harming Workers and Consumers,” Trump wrote on Twitter. The automakers’ decision to side with the Trump administration follows legal challenges by California and 22 states and environmental groups in September. Those challenges aim to undo the administration’s determination that federal law bars California from setting its own rigorous tailpipe emission standards and zero-emission vehicle mandates.
Thank you @GM, @FiatChrysler_NA, @Toyota, and @GloblAutomkrs for standing with us for Better, Cheaper, Safer Cars for Americans. California has treated the Auto Industry very poorly for many years, harming Workers and Consumers. We are fixing this problem! https://t.co/cf6I1e0yjQ— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 30, 2019
The decision to back Trump, disclosed in a filing with a US appeals court, has prompted a furious backlash from Democrats and environmentalists. It also poses a risk for the automakers if a Democrat wins the White House in November 2020 and reverses Trump’s actions, allowing California to set its own rules and revert to the tougher national emissions standards of the Obama era. The automakers did not immediately comment. California Air Resource Board chief Mary Nichols on Tuesday criticized automakers after noting they tried a similar tactic previously. “GM, Toyota and Chrysler are repeating the same legal arguments they lost back in 2004, hoping for a different result. Definition of insanity?” she wrote on Twitter.
The US House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, a Democrat, said on Twitter automakers “caving” to Trump’s “intimidation campaign won’t save these automakers” and added the decision to align with Trump’s “anti-climate agenda for the sake of a little short-term profit and reprieve from @POTUS’ Twitter tirades will do long-term damage, both to the automotive industry and to our country.” Other automakers, such as Ford Motor Co, Honda Motor Co and Volkswagen AG, which announced a voluntary deal with California in July on emissions rules, are not joining the bid to intervene on the administration’s side.