Nikki Haley, who President Trump nominated to be U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations shortly after his inauguration, was in Ridgeville, South Carolina at the opening of Volvo’s new $1.1 billion assembly plant on Wednesday when Sweden’s Ambassador to the U.S. Karin Ulrika Olofsdotter took the stage and fired a broadside against the Trump administration. For an event designed simply to launch a new sedan—the American-built 2019 Volvo S60, in this case—it was unusually awkward. Unlike the other speakers, Olofsdotter’s remarks did not appear on the teleprompter; instead she appeared to be reading from some written notes. And so it happened that after lauding the opening of the plant, she got down to the business of politely calling Trump’s trade war stupid, as Haley—the former South Carolina governor turned Trump official—sat in the front row. “We are a bit worried about the trade agenda. We are worried about the steel and aluminum tariffs,” Olofsdotter said. “And of course extremely worried about possible car tariffs.” She then said simply, “A plant like this does not need that.” It was a weird scene, since in addition to inaugurating the plant, Volvo was also there to reveal the third-generation S60, with all of the attendant trappings: dozens of journalists and an even greater number of Volvo employees whose task it is to make the journalists’ jobs as easy as possible. It’s safe to say that Volvo wanted, maybe even expected, laudatory coverage but here, halfway through the reveal itself was a big reminder… [Read full story]
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