During his first address before Congress on Tuesday night, Trump took a moment to tally up recent announcements about job creation.
“Since my election, Ford, Fiat-Chrysler, General Motors, Sprint, SoftBank, Lockheed, Intel, Walmart, and many others, have announced that they will invest billions of dollars in the United States and will create tens of thousands of new American jobs,” he boasted.
The problem is that none of these jobs have anything to do with his administration. All of them are thanks to plans that were in the works before he was even elected.
In early January, Ford announced that it would halt its plans to build a new factory in Mexico, and that instead it would spend $700 million to upgrade an existing Michigan plant. In the process, the company said it would create 700 new jobs aimed at building more electric and self-driving cars.
Despite Trump taking credit for the announcement, Ford CEO Mark Fields said publicly many times that it had nothing to do with the president. “We did it for our business,” he said, adding that the company would have done the same thing if Trump hadn’t won.
The electric cars that Ford will build at its revamped Michigan plant, meanwhile, stem from research that was funded by an Obama administration loan guarantee program that allowed the company to borrow $5.9 billion.
The day after Fiat-Chrysler announced that it will spend $1 billion to update plants in Michigan and Ohio while creating 2,000 jobs, making it clear it its announcement that it was the next phase in an expansion plan unveiled last year, the company told ThinkProgress that it had nothing to do with President Trump’s election.
In mid-January, General Motors said it will spend $1 billion on U.S. plants and create or retain 1,500 jobs, while also bringing production of its full-size pickup trucks back to the country and create 450 jobs. The announcement came after Trump picked a high-profile fight with the company by falsely claiming it imports all of its its Chevy Cruzes from Mexico.
But the investments, the company made clear, have been in the works for a while and weren’t a reaction to Trump. “This is something we’ve been undertaking for some period of time,” said Craig Glidden, GM’s general counsel. The company even pointed out that it has brought thousands of jobs back from overseas since 2009.
Trump still took credit for the announcement, while also ignoring the fact that GM is in the process of laying off about 3,300 American workers — and that it will still spend $5 billion in Mexico and create 5,600 jobs there.
Sprint and Softbank
Before he even officially took office, Trump made a big announcement that Sprint told him it would bring back or create 5,000 jobs in the U.S. and satellite startup OneWeb would create another 3,000 jobs.
The problem with his claim is that both stem from a $50 billion investment from SoftBank, which owns 80 percent of Sprint and has made a big investment in OneWeb, that was announced as part of a deal with a Saudi investment fund before Trump won. On top of that, not all of the jobs Sprint promised will be created by the company itself, but instead by contractors.
Lockheed Martin’s CEO recently said it would add 1,800 jobs in its F-35 fighter jet facility as she left a meeting with Trump. The president then jumped at the announcement, tweeting that the jobs “came back because of me!”
While Lockheed may have an incentive to butter up Trump, given that it’s the largest contractor with the federal government, Trump isn’t the reason for the additional jobs. A spokesperson told CNNMoney that the increase in production that led to the creation of jobs has been in the works for years.
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich also decided to turn a jobs announcement into a joint PR stunt with the president. At a visit to the White House, he said the company will spend $7 billion on a semi-conductor chip plant in Arizona and hire 3,000 new people once it’s built. Trump used the news to boast that “we have already begun bringing OUR jobs back to OUR country.”
But Intel first announced its plants to build the plant in question in 2011 alongside President Obama. Plans were postponed in 2014 amid lagging PC sales, and they’re being revived now because “Intel’s business continues to grow” and the semiconductor it is making needs more factory space, Krzanich said in a memo to employees.
Walmart said in mid-January that it will be spending $6.8 billion on its U.S. operations this year and creating 10,000 new retail jobs. But the announcement was part of previous plans to open and expand stores and e-commerce. The company has also been in the process of cutting thousands of other jobs while it focuses on its e-commerce segment.