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Trump says he would impose 35 percent tax on imported vehicles and parts

president trump
flickr user Gage Skidmore

Donald Trump used a visit to west Michigan to take aim at Ford Motor Company’s plans to expand production in Mexico. He says, if elected President, he would threaten manufacturers with big tariffs on imports to discourage them from building plants across the border and overseas.

“If you build that plant in Mexico, I’m going to charge you 35 percent on every car, truck part that you send into our country,” he said. “Every single one.”

Trump spoke to a crowd of several thousand. He says the country’s leaders are weak, and he would engage in tough negotiations with car companies to build new plants in the US and Michigan.

Trump’s proposal would at the very least require congressional approval and might violate the North America Free Trade Agreement.

Trump also took aim at the media, the new federal budget agreement, the Iran nuclear deal, and Obamacare.

The speech was interrupted more than a dozen times by protestors, who were escorted out of the venue to the jeers of the crowd and Trump, who called them “losers.”

There were also dozens of protesters outside the complex.

Andrew Geer, 20, carried a hand-written sign saying: “Hate does not make America great.”

“He’s definitely an entertainer,” said Geer. “I don’t think he has any business being in politics.

“He’s riling up lots of racist and bigoted messages and he’s playing as a non-establishment candidate and there are lots of better choices out there that don’t spew the hate. He wants to make America great again and make people respect us. But this kind of talk that’s coming from him and from his base is not the way to get that respect.”

Inside, Trump also took aim at the new federal budget agreement, the Iran nuclear deal, US immigration policy, and Obamacare in rambling remarks that lasted more than an hour.

“The American Dream is dead,” he said, “but I’m going to make it bigger and better and stronger than ever before, ever before. Bigger and better and stronger.”        

Michigan’s presidential primary is March 8th.

(Patrick Center of WGVU contributed to this report) 

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.