Trump is trying to take credit for Ford's decision to keep much of its manufacturing in the U.S., but does he deserve it?
Even before taking office, Donald Trump is trying to take credit for recent decisions by Ford Motor Company that would involve cancelling the construction of a $1.6 billion plant in Mexico in favor of investing $700 million in a Michigan assembly plant, resulting in hundreds of new jobs. But does Trump deserve the credit?
Fox News reported that Ford announced the plans on Tuesday based on the “pro-growth policies” of Trump. Trump had slammed Ford before being elected due to their plans to take manufacturing to Mexico. CEO Mark Fields reportedly said that Trump’s policies and those of the new Congress indicate that it would be in their best interest to keep the jobs there.
Now, Trump is taking on General Motors, demanding via Twitter that the manufacturer keep the Chevy Cruze in the United States or “pay big border tax.” GM isn’t budging, saying in a statement that the Cruze hatchbacks sell well in Mexico and a small number are sold in the U.S.
Ford leadership characterized their move as a vote of confidence in Trump and the future of the economy. Trump at one point during the campaign promised a 35 percent tariff on Ford vehicles made in Mexico and sold in the U.S., although experts said that wouldn’t be possible to do to one company.
However, despite Ford’s claims Tuesday that the decision was made due to Trump’s policies, the company has always said that Trump was wrong to suggest that the company planned to cut any U.S. jobs. Many experts question how much of an impact Trump really had on those decisions.
The head of the union representing workers at the plant was happy with the news.
“I am thrilled that we have been able to secure additional UAW-Ford jobs for American workers,” UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles said in a release. “The men and women of Flat Rock Assembly have shown a great commitment to manufacturing quality products, and we look forward to their continued success with a new generation of high-tech vehicles.”
Trump has tried to claim credit for a total of 51,500 jobs committed between Carrier, Softbank and Ford. By comparison, the U.S. averages about 125,000 private sector job gains per month under President Obama in 2016.
Time will tell if Trump can really move the U.S. economy in a positive direction, but he will certainly attempt to take credit wherever he can. He’s previously tried to claim credit for a Ford plant staying put that experts say was never going to move to begin with, so there’s still no clear indication how much of the recent positive news in terms of jobs is real growth caused by Trump and how much is just salesmanship and marketing on the part of a president-elect who does that better than any president in history.