The incoming Trump administration knows that it has a lot to prove, particularly because Donald Trump doesn’t hold any governing experience. One of his campaign promises included negotiating the best “deals” (a spin on his The Art Of The Deal book) for the American people to Make America Great Again. This includes bringing jobs back despite his own outsourcing of clothing manufacturing labor, which former Mexican President Vicente Fox doesn’t hesitate to mention at every opportunity.
Yet Trump has forged forward to show his negotiating mettle (since, after all, he cannot start building his Mexican Wall border yet) and came back with a success, which is based in VP Elect Mike Pence’s state of Indiana.
Carrier, which manufactures air conditioners and heating equipment (for its parent company, United Technologies Corp), announced that the company has reached a deal with the incoming Trump-Pence administration to keep 1,000 jobs in Indiana.
Trump, during a break from his distracting tweet-ranting habit, announced that he’ll be traveling to Indiana on Thursday to make a yuge announcement associated with Carrier.
Partial credit for this deal should likely go to Pence (and his obvious Indiana ties), but Trump is a savvy one and knew that a speedy Carrier deal would also be symbolic. The manufacturer drew much criticism in February when it announced the closing of two Indiana plants, one of which was based in Indianapolis and would have laid off 1,400 workers beginning in 2017.
Video of Carrier’s announcement to employees went viral, and a great deal of controversy swirled at how the company planned to pay Mexican workers $3 per hour in lieu of paying American workers $26+ per hour. The New York Times points out that Carrier would have paid Mexican workers the same amount in one day that they’d pay Americans in just one hour.
So clearly, Trump is making good on at least one of his campaign promises, and our friends at The Intercept had some harsh criticism for Obama in response to the news of the deal.
The most Obama has said about Carrier, at a June town hall in Indiana, is that some jobs “are just not going to come back.” He cited automation in manufacturing, enabling many fewer workers to staff a production line than in previous decades, though that’s a separate issue from Carrier’s outsourcing.
Later in the discussion, Obama challenged Trump’s promises to keep Carrier’s plant open. “He’s going to bring these jobs back. Well, how are you exactly going to do that, what are you going to do? There’s no answer to it.”
In fact, every tool Trump could possibly use to persuade Carrier to keep operations in Indiana has been available to Obama since the day of the company’s announcement. He has just chosen not to use them.