Trump salutes Car­rier — and him­self — over jobs stay­ing at plant in In­di­ana

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE -

Don­ald Trump saluted work­ers, own­ers and him­self Thurs­day at a Car­rier plant in In­di­ana, declar­ing that a deal to keep a lo­cal plant open in­stead of mov­ing op­er­a­tions to Mex­ico was only the first of many business vic­to­ries to come in the U.S. with him as pres­i­dent.

Trump’s stop at the heat­ing and air con­di­tion­ing gi­ant’s plant, his first ma­jor pub­lic ap­pear­ance since the elec­tion more than three weeks ago, marked the open­ing of a vic­tory tour to states that helped him win. He was to ap­pear at a rally in Cincin­nati Thurs­day night.

His speak­ing style, while calmer than on the cam­paign trail, was sim­i­lar to the seem­ingly stream-of-con­scious ef­forts of the past year. While fo­cus­ing on the hun­dreds of jobs he said he had saved from mov­ing to Mex­ico, he also found time to talk about his per­for­mance in the In­di­ana pri­mary, for­mer In­di­ana Univer­sity bas­ket­ball coach Bob Knight and

the wall he has promised to build along the U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der.

“We’re go­ing to build the wall,” Trump said, re­peat­ing his vow to con­struct an im­pen­e­tra­ble south­ern bor­der. “Trust me, we’re go­ing to build that wall.” In other re­cent re­marks, he has sug­gested he might ac­tu­ally go for a fence along some por­tions of the bor­der.

Some ques­tions re­main about the ex­tent of the vic­tory at Car­rier, which an­nounced this week that it will keep an Indianapolis plant open. In Fe­bru­ary, the heat­ing and air con­di­tion­ing com­pany said that it would shut the plant and send jobs to Mex­ico, and videos of an­gry work­ers be­ing in­formed about the de­ci­sion soon went vi­ral.

“The Rust Belt is so in­cred­i­ble, but we’re los­ing com­pa­nies, it’s un­be­liev­able, just one after the other,” Trump said to work­ers at the Indianapolis plant. “Com­pa­nies are not go­ing to leave the United States any­more with­out

con­se­quences. It’s not go­ing to hap­pen. It’s sim­ply not go­ing to hap­pen.”

The pres­i­dent-elect threat­ened dur­ing the cam­paign to im­pose sharp tar­iffs on any com­pany that shifted its fac­to­ries to Mex­ico. And his ad­vis­ers have pro­moted lower cor­po­rate tax rates as a means of keep­ing jobs in the U.S.

Trump re­peated both ideas on Thurs­day.

Dur­ing the cam­paign, Trump of­ten pointed to the In­di­ana plant’s mov­ing plans and a ma­jor re­sult of poor Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion poli­cies, and he pledged to re­vive U.S. man­u­fac­tur­ing. Of­fi­cials said this week that Car­rier had agreed to keep some 800 union jobs at the plant, but Trump sug­gested Thurs­day that it could ex­ceed 1,100.

A call to a Car­rier spokesman to clar­ify was not im­me­di­ately re­turned. Earlier Thurs­day, Seth Martin, a spokesman for Car­rier, said In­di­ana of­fered the air con­di­tion­ing and fur­nace man­u­fac­turer $7 mil­lion in tax in­cen­tives after ne­go­ti­a­tions with Trump’s team to keep some jobs in the state. Chuck Jones, the head of the USW Lo­cal 1999 union

that rep­re­sents the work­ers, said the ad­di­tional jobs in Trump’s count were pre­vi­ously set to be saved.

The com­pany’s de­ci­sion is some­thing of a re­ver­sal; earlier of­fers from the state had failed to sway Car­rier.

Trump said he per­son­ally called Greg Hayes, the CEO of United Tech­nolo­gies, Car­rier’s par­ent, to seal the deal, jok­ingly ask­ing Hayes, “If I lost, would you have picked up the phone?”

Trump toured the fac­tory with his run­ning mate, Mike Pence — who, as the out­go­ing gover­nor of In­di­ana, was well-si­t­u­ated to aid ne­go­ti­a­tions — and shook hands with sev­eral work­ers whose jobs would be pre­served. Trump pointed to one and yelled at re­porters, “He’s go­ing to have a good Christ­mas!”

Though hun­dreds may keep their jobs, oth­ers ap­par­ently will not, since roughly 1,400 work­ers were slated to be laid off — and many work­ers have not yet been told their fate. While Trump re­ceived some cheers dur­ing his ap­pear­ance, the re­sponse was not over­whelm­ing, per­haps a re­flec­tion of that un­cer­tainty.

Trump’s deal with Car­rier may be a pub­lic re­la­tions suc­cess for the in­com­ing pres­i­dent but also sug­gests that he has un­veiled a new pres­i­den­tial eco­nomic ap­proach: ac­tively choos­ing in­di­vid­ual cor­po­rate win­ners and losers — or at least win­ners. To crit­ics who see other In­di­ana fac­to­ries on the verge of clos­ing, deals like the one at Car­rier are un­likely to stem the job losses caused by au­to­ma­tion and cheap for­eign com­pe­ti­tion, and the prospect that the White House might di­rectly in­ter­vene is also a con­cern to some econ­o­mists.

The rally in Cincin­nati, which Pence also was to at­tend, was to take place in the same down­town sports arena where Trump ap­peared in late Oc­to­ber and drew about 15,000 peo­ple in what was one of his loud­est — and most hos­tile to the me­dia — crowds of the cam­paign. Trump, who won Ohio con­vinc­ingly, also is ex­pected to hold ral­lies in bat­tle­ground states in­clud­ing Penn­syl­va­nia, Florida, North Carolina and Michi­gan in the com­ing weeks, though de­tails have yet to be an­nounced.


Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump and Vice Pres­i­dent-elect Mike Pence talk to work­ers at the Car­rier Corp. plant in Indianapolis on Thurs­day.

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