The Washington Post referred to it as a “mind meld,” but others were crying plagiarism after The White House put out a press release that sounded very similar to a statement put out by ExxonMobil. The oil company announced a plan to “spend $20 billion over 10 years, build 11 chemical and natural-gas projects and create 45,000 jobs” according to the Washington Post. Not long after, The White House released their own statement claiming credit for the move and pointed to the “optimism sweeping the country” as a driving force behind the decision.
Exxon’s investment plan was launched in 2013 — four years ago. And while the White House was hailing the investment program by ExxonMobil and talked about Trump’s “promise to bring back jobs to America,” General Motors on Monday announced the layoff of 1,100 workers in Michigan.
Some oil analysts were not impressed. “There is nothing new or newsworthy here,” said Pavel Molchanov, energy analyst with the investment firm Raymond James. “At the risk of stating the obvious, plenty of companies, across various industries, have been touting their U.S. job creation efforts in order to get on the Trump administration’s good side — even when the underlying job creation has little or nothing to do with Washington policy. This is simply the latest example of that.”
The Washington Post also points out that the $20 billion figure over ten years only represents “10 percent of ExxonMobil’s current capital spending levels.” None of this information stopped the Trump administration from taking credit, but many were quick to point out that they also didn’t seem to stop there. Here is a paragraph taken from ExxonMobil’s statement earlier in the day:
ExxonMobil is strategically investing in new refining and chemical-manufacturing projects in the U.S. Gulf Coast region to expand its manufacturing and export capacity. The company’s Growing the Gulf expansion program, consists of 11 major chemical, refining, lubricant and liquefied natural gas projects at proposed new and existing facilities along the Texas and Louisiana coasts. Investments began in 2013 and are expected to continue through at least 2022.
This was released by the company at 3:10, followed by the White House release at 3:44 that featured the above selection almost verbatim.
The copied segment does not feature any attribution to the company or Exxon chief executive Darren W. Woods, who laid out the plan at the CERAWeek oil conference in Houston according to The Washington Post. But all of this seems to be small compared to the facts behind the decision and the Trump response to it, and the relationship between The White House and ExxonMobil. As the president appears to falsely claim in his video, this decision was “done to a large extent because of our policies” and ExxonMobil is a “Special company.”