President-elect Donald Trump on Friday night teased an agreement with Ford Motor Company to keep jobs in Michigan instead of outsourcing them to Mexico, and minutes later announced a deal with another company to bring hundreds of jobs to the state.
First, Trump went on a riff about an upcoming agreement with Ford, hours after a report quoted the company’s CEO as refuting Trump’s characterization of its Mexico plans.
“Ford’s made a promise to me, and hopefully at the beginning of the year, they are going to honor that promise about something they are going to do that’s very big,” Trump said Friday night at a rally in Grand Rapids, Mich.
“They are going to do it in Michigan, not in Mexico. It’s gonna be great.”
Trump did not include many details of the alleged agreement, and Ford has not announced any recent related decisions. But its CEO, Mark Fields, told the Associated Press
on Friday that it would not change its decision to move small-car production from Michigan to Mexico. He added that new work at the Michigan plant will ensure that no jobs are actually lost by the move.
Soon after his hint at the Ford deal, he called up Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris to the stage. Liveris, whom Trump said will be part of his American Manufacturing Council, announced his company would bring “several hundred” new jobs to Michigan with a “state-of-the-art innovation center.”
“This decision is because of this man and these policies,” Liveris said, pointing to Trump, who leaned in to shake his hand.
“We could have waited, we could have put it anywhere in the world. Several hundred jobs on top of the thousands, we aren’t waiting, we are going ahead. We are going to use hardworking American brains.”
The company later said in a statement that the new facility will support about 200 jobs — 100 newly created, and 100 pulled from other facilities.
“We chose Michigan, our home for more than 119 years because of the highly-skilled workforce in the state and because we believe the incoming Presidential administration understands the importance of R&D investment and its multiplier impact on U.S. manufacturing jobs,” Liveris said in the statement.
It’s not the first time Trump has sought to deal with companies directly as incoming president. He reached an agreement with Carrier to keep about 800 furnace manufacturing jobs in Indiana instead of Mexico and has criticized other companies for outsourcing or for what he believes as charging the federal government too much. He has said he will impose a 35 percent tariff on American countries trying to export products to the U.S. from overseas.
The president-elect met with former Ford CEO Alan Mulally this week amid reports he was being considered for the secretary of State position.