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18 November 2016

Donald Trump’s boasts about keeping a Ford plant in the US aren’t all they seem

The President-Elect bragged in a series of tweets that he has stopped the Lincoln SUV producer in Kentucky moving to Mexico.

By media mole

In a time when fake news seems to be a must-read, let’s not start taking Donald Trump’s tweets at face value too.

Here’s a case in point. Overnight, Reuters published a piece about Donald Trump and Ford, essentially fact-checking a tweet of the President Elect’s in which he implied a car plant will no longer be moving to Mexico:

The theme – keeping jobs in America, and sticking two fingers up at Mexico in the process – is a solid one for Trump.

The only problem is that there appears to be little evidence that the Kentucky plant was ever in danger of closing.

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Also, rather than the Ford boss Bill Ford Jr (who Trump mentions in his tweet) telling Trump that the plant would not be moved to Mexico, the firm has actually come out and said that it informed the President-Elect of its decision to keep just one vehicle – out of its whole range of products – being manufactured in the US. The car made at the Louisville Assembly plant, the small Lincoln utility vehicle, will stay in Kentucky.

As Reuters reported:

“Ford has repeatedly said it has no plans to close any US plants and likely could not do so under the terms of the current United Auto Workers contract that expires in 2019.”

The piece goes on to explain what actually happened in Kentucky. It was a two-week suspension of production, due to low demand of a particular vehicle. And it unpicks what, exactly, the company may do in Mexico (it is planning to move some small-car production south of the border).

Reuters, then, has provided an important corrective to a tweet by Trump that was confused at best.