Trump tout­ing plans by Ja­pan tech mogul

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Vi­vian Salama and Josh Boak

palm beach, fla.» Don­ald Trump on Wed­nes­day touted plans by a Ja­panese mogul to bring 8,000 jobs to the United States.

They could be the first of the 50,000 jobs that tech bil­lion­aire Masayoshi Son promised to cre­ate af­ter meet­ing with the pres­i­den­t­elect in De­cem­ber.

In the grand scheme of the econ­omy, the jobs an­nounce­ment is un­likely to have a ma­jor im­pact. Still, it’s another ex­am­ple of how Trump is try­ing to stoke vot­ers’ be­lief that he is ac­tively fight­ing for their well-be­ing.

The an­nounce­ment came dur­ing a whirl­wind day in which Trump ac­cused Pres­i­dent Barack Obama of throw­ing up “in­flam­ma­tory” road­blocks dur­ing the tran­si­tion of power and said his ad­min­is­tra­tion was treat­ing Is­rael with “to­tal dis­dain.”

Son is the founder and CEO of SoftBank, one of Ja­pan’s largest tech­nol­ogy out­fits. He owns the U.S. mo­bile car­rier Sprint, which Trump said Wed­nes­day would be mov­ing 5,000 jobs “back” to the United States. Son also con­trols OneWeb, which Trump said would hire 3,000 work­ers.

It was un­clear whether the pres­i­dent-elect was ref­er­enc­ing the Dec. 6 com­mit­ment by Son to in­vest $50 bil­lion in the United States and cre­ate 50,000 jobs.

Trump said the ad­di­tion of 8,000 jobs was “be­cause of what’s hap­pen­ing and the spirit and the hope.”

Still, the U.S. job mar­ket has been ro­bust for much of 2016. Em­ploy­ers have added more than 2.2 mil­lion jobs over the past 12 months — a sign of eco­nomic health that pre­dates Trump’s pres­i­den­tial vic­tory.

Sprint has strug­gled since its 2013 ac­qui­si­tion by SoftBank. The car­rier shed roughly 9,000 work­ers be­tween 2012 and 2016, re­duc­ing its staff to 30,000, ac­cord­ing to an­nual re­ports.

Sprint’s at­tempt to join with ri­val T-Mo­bile failed in 2014 af­ter reg­u­la­tors ob­jected to com­bin­ing two of the four largest mo­bile telecom com­pa­nies in the United States. An­a­lysts say a Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion would be more likely to ap­prove telecom merg­ers, in­clud­ing a deal be­tween Sprint and T-Mo­bile.

Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said in a state­ment that the com­pany is ex­cited to work with Trump.

“We be­lieve it is crit­i­cal for busi­ness and govern­ment to part­ner to­gether to cre­ate more job op­por­tu­ni­ties in the U.S. and en­sure pros­per­ity for all Amer­i­cans,” Claure said.

The Sprint jobs an­nounce­ment came af­ter ten­sions rose and fell Wed­nes­day be­tween Trump and Obama. Trump has made it clear that it didn’t sit well with him when Obama re­cently boasted that he would have won the elec­tion if he’d been run­ning.

“Do­ing my best to dis­re­gard the many in­flam­ma­tory Pres­i­dent O state­ments and road­blocks,” Trump tweeted Wed­nes­day morn­ing. “Thought it was go­ing to be a smooth tran­si­tion — NOT!”

Later, how­ever, jour­nal­ists at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago re­sort in Florida asked him about the tweet and how he thought the tran­si­tion was go­ing.

He said: “I think very, very smoothly. It’s very good. You don’t think so?”

Even later Wed­nes­day, Trump told re­porters he had spo­ken by phone with Obama and said the two “had a very nice con­ver­sa­tion.”

White House spokesman Eric Schultz said Obama phoned Trump. “To­day’s call, like the oth­ers since the elec­tion, was pos­i­tive and fo­cused on con­tin­u­ing a smooth and ef­fec­tive tran­si­tion,” Schultz said. “The pres­i­dent and pres­i­den­t­elect com­mit­ted to stay­ing in touch over the next sev­eral weeks.”

Trump also took di­rect is­sue with the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s de­ci­sion to let a United Na­tions Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tion crit­i­cal of Is­rael pass.

“We can­not con­tinue to let Is­rael be treated with such to­tal dis­dain and dis­re­spect,” he said in a twopart tweet. “They used to have a great friend in the U.S., but ... not any­more. The be­gin­ning of the end was the hor­ri­ble Iran deal, and now this (U.N.)! Stay strong Is­rael, Jan­uary 20th is fast ap­proach­ing!”

The pres­i­dent-elect’s com­plaints about the treat­ment of Is­rael came a few hours be­fore John Kerry made his fi­nal speech about Mideast peace as sec­re­tary of state. Kerry crit­i­cized Is­rael for set­tle­ment-build­ing and ac­cused Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu of drag­ging Is­rael away from democ­racy.

Trump re­sumed his busy sched­ule of meet­ings fol­low­ing a brief lull for the hol­i­days.

Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump speaks to re­porters at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., on Wed­nes­day. Evan Vucci, The As­so­ci­ated Press

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