Trump’s Teamsters meeting lays bare division over immigration

O’Brien, who met with Trump twice this month to discuss organized labor, disagreed. He said he doesn’t support a shutdown of the border, adding “we are all products of immigration.”

The former president and head of the Teamsters laid out their differences on immigration in separate press conferences that took place after Trump was interviewed for about one hour by the Teamsters board and rank-and-file members.

Trump was invited to speak to the group as it considers who to endorse in the 2024 presidential race. The Teamsters have backed the Democratic candidate for president over Trump each time he has run before.

President Joe Biden has confirmed that he plans to meet with the Teamsters to be interviewed for a potential endorsement but no date has been set yet.

Trump spoke to reporters for about 20 minutes in the lobby of the Teamsters’ headquarters in Washington, D.C., followed by about 10 minutes from O’Brien.

“The Teamsters union supports immigrant workers because we all come from people that came from different countries,” O’Brien said when he addressed reporters after Trump, flanked by a UPS worker, American Red Cross phlebotomist and Teamsters Local member.

Congress is currently negotiating an immigration bill partly focused on the number of entries at the southern border, which Trump criticized as “insane.” He added that a border bill should only be done if “we get a great bill.” Trump has
urged Republican congress members to block the bill

“So we just had a meeting with the Teamsters, and one of the biggest problems they have is millions of people are pouring into the country. And that’s a killer for the Teamsters. And I’m gonna stop it,” Trump said. “And that’s why the Teamsters, I think, support me. Now, I don’t know if the top people will support me — we’re gonna have to find that out — but within the union itself, I have tremendous support.”

The Teamsters have not yet done polling on who their rank-and-file members support, but O’Brien said it would conduct that survey and the opinions of the rank and file will factor into the union’s “endorsement or non-endorsement.”

Trump said even getting the interview for a potential endorsement was a win. The Teamsters have not done an endorsement interview process with candidates from both parties or independents before.

Former Gov. Nikki Haley, Trump’s last opponent in the GOP primary, has not met with the Teamsters and
criticized Trump
Wednesday morning for meeting with the group, which opposes several traditionally conservative policy positions like right-to-work.

Independent presidential candidates Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Cornel West both sat for interviews in December.

“At the end of the day, we still have some more questions that need to be asked to both candidates,” O’Brien said, referring to Trump and Biden.

“President Biden has done a lot of good work for union members,” O’Brien said. “But like I’ve stated before, what you’ve done in the past doesn’t guarantee a future with us. We want to know what you’re gonna do for our members moving forward.”

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