Made in America Trump style
“… the policy of our government is to aggressively promote and use American-made goods and to ensure that American labor is hired to do the job.” President Donald Trump, April 18, 2017
On April 18, President Trump signed an Executive Order titled “Buy American and Hire American.” Later that day, at the Snap-on tool factory in Wisconsin, Trump said, “We’re going to do everything in our power to make sure more products are stamped with those wonderful words ‘Made in the USA.’ For too long we’ve watched as our factories have been closed and our jobs have been sent to faraway lands.”
Great words. The problem is, one of the worst violators of this principle is the president himself. It’s not news that both Trump and his daughter Ivanka use foreign labor and factories to manufacture their products. As a private businessman, Trump wanted to make the biggest profit, no matter who was hurt. Now, as president, he is supposed to be looking out for American workers; that was one of his biggest campaign themes. How is he doing?
On July 17, Trump signed a proclamation declaring July 16-22 as “Made in America Week.” That same week, he requested permission from the Department of Labor to hire 70 foreign workers to work at Mar-a-Lago, plus another six at his golf club in Jupiter, Fla. He needed 15 housekeepers, 26 cooks, and 35 waiters. He said he was unable to “find qualified Americans to serve as cooks, waiters and housekeepers.” (Washington Post, 7-20-17)
Finding agricultural workers might present a problem. Finding housekeepers and waiters shouldn’t. The employment agencies in the area, which had people seeking work, said they hadn’t been asked. Trump has followed this pattern for years. Why would Trump prefer foreign workers? Because he can pay them less and make more profit. For a businessman, fine. For a president who is supposed to stand up for American workers, disgusting.
Trump has also ranted against buying and using foreign products. When he built the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas, which opened in 2008, he used Chinese steel. This was not only a slap in the face to U.S. steel companies; it benefited the Chinese Communist Party. Chinese banks provide loans to the Chinese steel companies. Most of these banks belong to the Chinese government, so the profits from these loans go right to the government. By buying Chinese steel, Trump was hurting U.S. steel workers and supporting the Chinese Communists.
How about the products used inside his hotels? His light fixtures are made in the Czech Republic, ice buckets in Thailand, shower caps, bath towels and decorative mirrors in China, slippers in Hong Kong, and shower gel in Italy, just to name a few. (Business Insider, 1-28-17) American companies make many of these products; purchasing them here would benefit American businesses and workers. But the bottom line wouldn’t be as profitable for Trump. His priorities are clear, and it’s not us.
How about his own products? Trump’s company makes suits and ties in Mexico and China. Trump complains that American companies don’t make these products anymore, but Brooks Brothers, a very old American company, makes all of its ties in New York, and 85 percent of its suits in Massachusetts. (Newsweek, 10-4-16)
Trump shirts are made in China, Bangladesh, Honduras, and Vietnam. Trump Home furniture is made in Germany and Turkey. Other products are made in the Netherlands, India, Slovenia, Indonesia, and South Korea. He does make a couple of things in America, including his MAGA hats, but imagine the jobs he could create if he moved his product manufacturing here.
In case someone thinks that this is all in the past, Trump was granted 38 new trademarks in China after he was inaugurated; Ivanka received three. (AP, 3-8-17) This means they can develop 41 new businesses in China. Trump is using the power of the presidency to increase his family’s fortunes. Ignoring American workers is just a byproduct.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on April 18, “President Trump has just repeatedly failed to deliver on the promises he’s made to American workers during the campaign. He hasn’t stood up to China, who has robbed millions of Americans of jobs over the last several decades.” Trump makes his products overseas. He hires foreign workers and uses foreign products. He does this to increase his profit. Where is his concern for American workers? I guess until he can make a profit off of us, we just don’t count.
Jeanette Strong, whose column appears every other week, is a Nevada Press Association award-winning columnist. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.