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Trump is taking credit for jobs companies planned years in advance

Trump has taken credit for high-profile announcements despite the fact that they date back well before his presidency.

President Donald Trump with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman. CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci
President Donald Trump with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman. CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

On Monday, President Donald Trump found a new way to take credit for old news: He inserted his own quote into a press release written by Toyota.

The company announced this week that it’s spending $1.3 billion at a Kentucky plant that will build its new Camry. “Toyota’s decision to invest $1.3 billion in their Kentucky plant is further evidence that manufacturers are now confident that the economic climate has greatly improved under my administration,” Trump is quoted as saying in the press release.

Trump’s quote appears in the release despite the fact that company made it clear that the news is not related to his administration. In fact, Toyota began preparing for manufacturing the new Camry during the last president’s term. “We’ve been working on this Camry now for over three years, so this is not something that’s just brand new and picked up most recently,” Wil James, president of the Kentucky factory, told Bloomberg.

In the same press release, Jim Lentz, Toyota’s North America CEO, said, “This $1.33 billion investment is part of Toyota’s plan to invest $10 billion dollars in the U.S. over the next five years.”

But while the format may have been new, Trump’s desire to take credit for old job news is not.

On the campaign trail, Trump made a number of promises about keeping jobs in the country. “A Trump administration will stop the jobs from leaving America,” he told a crowd in Florida in November. “I will bring the auto jobs back to America,” he said in Ohio in October. As part of his effort to prove he’s following up on those promises, he has claimed that a number of recent announcements are due to his election victory.

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In reality, these announcements date back far before he took office — and virtually none of them can be credited to actions from his administration.

For example, Intel first said that it would build a semi-conductor chip plant in Arizona back in 2011, with the CEO making the announcement alongside President Obama. Though the plans were delayed in 2014, they were never abandoned. But that didn’t stop the company from announcing at the Trump White House in February that it would spend $7 billion to complete the plant and hire 3,000 people once it’s up and running. Nor did it stop Trump from saying it’s evidence that he has “already begun bringing OUR jobs back to OUR country.”

Exxon began investing in a number of plants as far back as 2012 and will continue through at least 2022, spanning both before and after Trump’s term. Yet when the company announced in March it would invest $20 billion as part of this plan and create more than 45,000 jobs, Trump not only released his own press release about it that copied Exxon’s statements nearly word for word, but he also said in a Facebook video, “This is something that was done to a large extent because of our policies and the policies of this new administration.”

In June of 2015, as part of its effort to get regulators to approve its plan to acquire Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications pledged to hire 20,000 more people. Yet in March, the company stood alongside President Trump and let him announce that it was again promising to hire 20,000 people and invest $25 billion in the U.S.

Also in 2015, Ford negotiated a deal with the UAW union that included the requirement that the company invest $9 billion in American plants and create or retain 8,500 jobs. When it made good on that commitment last month and said it will invest $1.2 billion in three Michigan plants, creating 130 jobs, Trump and his advisers tried to link the news back to a meeting the president recently held with auto executives.

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In October of last year, SoftBank set out to create a technology fund and inked a deal with a Saudi investment firm for $100 billion, then decided to invest $50 billion of it in the U.S. Yet Trump claimed that the investment, which will yield 5,000 jobs — some of which will be through contractors, not SoftBank funded companies themselves — is “because of me” even before he was officially sworn in.

Trump has also tried to take credit for recent job creation announcements from Fiat-Chrysler, General Motors, Lockheed Martin, and Walmart, despite there being no evidence that they were due to his administration. The one deal he can take credit for is one he struck with Carrier to keep about 800 jobs in the U.S., although 1,300 jobs are still leaving.

Ryan Koronowski contributed reporting to this article.