Reprinted from The Los Angeles Times by Steven Greenhouse on December 8, 2016.
When President-elect Donald Trump tweeted out attacks Wednesday night against an Indianapolis steelworkers official, he wasn’t just letting off steam; he was seeking to stifle dissent and weaken a powerful labor union.
The official, Chuck Jones, apparently offended Trump by saying he had “lied his ass off” when he claimed to have saved 1,100 jobs at Carrier’s plant in Indianapolis. In truth, Trump helped to save 800, not 1,100.
So at 7:41 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “Chuck Jones, who is President of United Steelworkers 1999, has done a terrible job representing workers. No wonder companies flee country!” And at 8:56, Trump tweeted, “If United Steelworkers 1999 was any good, they would have kept those jobs in Indiana. Spend more time working-less time talking. Reduce dues.”
Jones told the news media that within hours of Trump’s Twitter attack, he had received menacing phone calls, including one saying, “We know what car you drive.’ ”