During his speech Thursday night in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, President Trump touted seven new steel plants he claimed U.S. Steel is opening.
If true, Trump’s claim would be huge news, as according to PolitiFact, U.S. Steel only operates four steelmaking plants in the entire country at present. The development would represent a benefit of the steel and aluminum tariffs Trump imposed that launched a trade war and have sparked concerns about inflation.
“I’ll tell you what I’m really proud of now. About five months ago — it took a while to get all the statutory approvals — we’re putting our steel workers back to work at clips that nobody could believe,” Trump said on Thursday. “U.S. Steel is opening up seven plants.”
It wasn’t the first time Trump touted new steel plants. During a speech on Tuesday, Trump bizarrely said that “U.S. Steel just announced that they are building six new steel mills. And that number is soon going to be lifted, but I’m not allowed to say that, so I won’t.”
A direct quote from TRUMP: "US Steel just announced that they are building six new steel mills. And that number is soon going to be lifted, but I'm not allowed to say that, so I won't." pic.twitter.com/xdbE3P5pxm
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 31, 2018
The number varies from speech to speech. On July 27, Trump claimed U.S. Steel was going to open seven plants. Twice in June, he hyped six new ones.
But there’s a major problem — Trump’s claim is a fabrication. U.S. Steel is not “opening up seven plants.” In fact, the company hasn’t publicly announced it is opening any new plants at all.
Following Trump’s speech in Pennsylvania, U.S. Steel provided CNN with a statement saying the openings of new plants “would be publicly announced if they happen.”
That accords with what the company told PolitiFact.
“All of our operational changes have been publicly announced and all information shared with the federal government has been properly disclosed and made available on our website,” a spokesman for the company said.
Trump is in the habit of making stuff up to make himself look good.
During a roundtable event in Iowa late last month, Trump touted “record business” for the association health care plans he champions as better alternatives to more robust ones mandated by the ACA. He did that despite the fact association plans won’t even be available until September.
Trump has also repeatedly touted the imminent unveiling of mysterious health care proposals that never end up materializing.
After announcing in June that he'd release a new kind of health plan in two weeks (July 4), then later in June that it'd be in three weeks (July 19), Trump just proclaimed that their "different form of health care" is "turning out to be incredible," though it still doesn't exist.
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) July 26, 2018
Trump’s baseless boasts put other Republicans in tough spots. During a CNN interview on Friday, Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA) was in the unenviable position of having to respond to Trump’s claims about new U.S. Steel plants.
“So U.S. Steel of course is based in your state — do you know anything about these seven plants? Any announcements you want to share with us?” anchor Erica Hill asked him.
“I don’t have any announcements on that front,” Costello said. “Let’s be honest — I do hope we do hear an announcement from U.S. Steel, but I don’t know of anything, no.”
“So, what we heard from the president then, at this point, we don’t know that that’s actually happening?” Hill followed up.
“Yeah, I have no way — I don’t know that, I have no way of knowing that,” Costello replied.