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Donald Trump is claiming credit for saving U.S. jobs. Does he deserve it?

Donald Trump poses for a photo after an interview with Reuters in his office in Trump Tower in New York City on May 17. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

Donald Trump's “Make America Great Again” platform involved a few simple planks. Build the wall. Bar Muslim immigrants (or, once refined, those from terror-linked countries). Renegotiate trade deals — and, above all else, keep jobs in the United States.

Since winning in November, Trump's already gotten to work on that last point, as he's been eager to point out in tweets and in statements to the press. Often, though, Trump's celebratory credit-taking for saving or creating new jobs in the country deserves a peppering of asterisks, since the details differ in key ways from the presentation offered by the president-elect.

Here's a look at what Trump has said about protecting or retaining U.S. jobs — and what further details then made clear.


What Trump said: During the campaign, Trump repeatedly used the industrial manufacturing company Carrier as an example of the sort of offshoring he would prevent as president. At one point he told an audience that “we're not going to let Carrier leave” — a promise he forgot until he saw a Carrier worker reiterate it on TV in November.

In a triumphant news conference at the company's plant in Indiana, Trump announced that he'd cut a deal with Carrier's parent company to keep manufacturing in the United States. “I will tell you that United Technologies and Carrier stepped it up and now they’re keeping — actually the number’s over 1,100 people, which is so great, which is so great,” he said.

What really happened: As our fact-checkers noted, the actual number of jobs being kept in the United States was about 730. Trump appears to have included in his figure 300 jobs that weren't being moved overseas. (This was the inflation that frustrated the local union leader whom Trump later criticized on Twitter.)

Trump also failed to mention that 1,253 United Technologies jobs were still headed to Mexico. In exchange for keeping those 730 jobs in the United States, United Technologies will get unspecified tax breaks from the state, which declined to share details with The Post. Over time, the company says that the jobs kept in the United States will be significantly reduced thanks to automation.

Number of jobs for which Trump might take credit: 730

A prayer vigil was held for the employees still at risk of losing their jobs when Carrier and Rexnord manufacturing plants are shut down. (Video: Whitney Leaming/The Washington Post)


What Trump said: Early last month, Trump appeared in the lobby of Trump Tower alongside Masayoshi Son, the chief executive of SoftBank. He later tweeted about what Son was offering.

What really happened: The $50 billion investment will apparently come from a $100 billion fund created in partnership with the Saudi government and announced in October, before Election Day — a fund that one expert noted would likely have invested heavily in the United States regardless of who won the White House. After all, as Wonkblog noted, there aren't many places that can absorb billions of dollars in venture capital the way the United States can.

It's also important to note that there's political value for Son in currying favor with Trump. SoftBank owns Sprint, which recently sought a merger with T-Mobile. The FCC made clear several years ago that it had concerns about consolidating the already small cellphone market. Trump will appoint a new chairman of the FCC.

Number of jobs for which Trump might take credit: To be determined, but see below.

Dow Chemical

What Trump said: At a rally last month, Trump introduced Dow chief executive Andrew Liveris, whom the president-elect tapped to run the American Manufacturing Council.

Liveris told the crowd that his company would be creating jobs in Michigan.

“We're going to invest a new state-of-the-art innovation center in Michigan,” he said. “We're going to put an R-and-D center in place. This decision. . . . Because of this man. And these policies. We could have waited. We could have put it anywhere in the world. Several hundred jobs, on top of the thousands. We aren't waiting.”

What really happened: The “thousands” mentioned by Liveris appears to refer to existing Dow jobs in the state. In a subsequent news release, the company offered more details. “The innovation center will support approximately 200 research and development jobs in Michigan,” it read, “including 100 newly created jobs while repatriating 100 jobs from other Dow facilities throughout the globe to Midland.”

Number of jobs for which Trump might take credit: 200

President-elect Donald Trump says wireless carrier Sprint Corp will bring 5,000 jobs back to the United States and OneWeb, a new company, will be hiring 3,000 people. (Video: The Washington Post)

Sprint and OneWeb

What Trump said: Shortly before the new year, Trump announced that Sprint was moving 5,000 jobs from overseas into the United States. He also said that OneWeb, a start-up based in Virginia, was creating 3,000 jobs in the country.

What really happened: Both Sprint and OneWeb are linked to SoftBank. SoftBank invested $1 billion in OneWeb and it owns Sprint. Meaning that these jobs are likely part of the 50,000 announced earlier in the year.

The OneWeb investment increased after Son met with Trump, its founder told The Post, allowing for new hires.

For what it's worth, the Sprint jobs won't all be with Sprint. Many will be with American contractors. Since December 2013, the company has shed 8,000 jobs. Last January, it announced that it was firing 2,500 Americans working in domestic call centers.

Number of jobs for which Trump might take credit: 8,000

Ford, part one

What Trump said: In November, Trump tweeted about a conversation he had with the chairman of the company.

Number of jobs for which Trump might take credit: As The Post reported, contracts between Ford and its employees prevented the company from shuttering the Kentucky plant. Instead, the company says that its change of plans was to cancel plans to produce one vehicle, the Lincoln MKC, in Mexico.

Regardless, that move wouldn't have cost any jobs in the Kentucky plant, which primarily manufactures Ford Escapes.

Number of jobs for which Trump might take credit: None.

Ford, part two

What Trump said: When Ford announced last July that it would move production of the Ford Focus to Mexico, Trump wasted no time criticizing the company.

“They're going to make cars and trucks and parts and send them into the United States,” he said. “We get no jobs. We get no taxes.”

On Tuesday, the company announced that it would cancel a new production facility in Mexico, instead investing in production in Michigan. Trump took credit for the move in a tweet.

What really happened: Our Ylan Q. Mui and Steven Overly reported on the details.

On Tuesday, Ford chief executive Mark Fields announced the company has canceled plans to invest $1.6 billion into a new plant in Mexico, instead pouring a little less than half of that amount into producing electric and self-driving vehicles at facilities in Michigan and Illinois.
The move is expected to create 700 jobs in the United States, Fields said. But Ford still intends to expand its manufacturing in Mexico, announcing at the same time that the next-generation Ford Focus will be built at an existing facility there to save on costs.

Update: On Wednesday, more details reported by our Danielle Paquette. One important factor in the move to Michigan is that the company is focusing more on electric vehicles, and having production closer to research and development makes that process easier. While Ford's CEO called the move a "vote of confidence" in Trump, Trump's role in this decision remains murky.

Number of jobs for which Trump might take credit: 700 -- with emphasis on "might"

General Motors

What Trump said: On Tuesday, Trump tweeted criticism of the auto manufacturer's alleged sale of cars made in Mexico to American consumers.

What really happened: The company told CNBC that this isn't true. Chevy Cruze manufacturing is based in Lordstown, Ohio, near Youngstown. One model produced for Mexico is sold in the United States, accounting for only about 2 percent of sales.

Since sales of the Cruze are down, the company will eliminate one production shift, which is likely to cut 1,245 jobs in Ohio.

Number of jobs for which Trump might take credit: None.