Donald Trump derided electric vehicles as inefficient and “ridiculous” during a stump speech as South Carolina’s Governor Henry McMaster, a proponent of EVs, stood behind him. The Republican governor invited the former president to the state capitol for an event introducing the Trump campaign’s South Carolina leadership team on Saturday. This was Trump’s second campaign event of the day, following an afternoon speech in New Hampshire.
“They want mandatory electric cars. The car goes for like two hours,” Trump said of the Democrats while McMaster, who has endorsed his 2024 campaign, stood behind him. But as Associated Press national politics reporter, Meg Kinnard, noted in a tweet, McMaster mere months ago signed an executive order to entice electrical vehicle-related businesses to the state.
“What are you gonna do? Everyone’s gonna be sitting on the highway. We’re all gonna be looking for a little plug in. ‘Does anybody have a plug in? My car just stopped, we’ve been driving for an hour and 51 minutes.’ It’s ridiculous,” Trump mocked. At this point, McMaster started to chuckle.
But this had to be an awkward moment for the governor, who has thrown his support and political power behind electric vehicles in recent years. In October, he signed an executive order to prioritize recruitment of businesses related to electric vehicles and establish a jobs training program. He also created a working group to plan for EV infrastructure. In 2021, South Carolina won a $155 million contract for Oshkosh Defense to build United States Postal Service neighborhood delivery vehicles, which it says will create more than 1,000 jobs. BMW is also investing $1.7 billion to increase its EV manufacturing capabilities in South Carolina.
“As the industry continues to move towards electric vehicles, South Carolina will move along with it — working to ensure that our state will continue to be seen as the ideal place for manufacturers and suppliers to do business,” McMaster said when he signed the order in the fall. “Along with these investments come good-paying jobs that our people will be ready to take on.”
But McMaster didn’t say anything about EVs when Trump invited him to speak at the podium on Saturday. Instead the governor lavished praise on the former president, saying, “In Nov. 2024, we will re-elect Donald Trump, and we will see a burst of freedom and prosperity unlike we have ever seen before.”