These Trump ‘Deals’ Ended Up Being Big Ol’ Nothingburgers
President Trump is a lot of things. He’s a businessman, for starters, and by many measures, a successful one. He’s rich — though how rich, we don’t really know. And he’s a people-pleaser. He loves to get people riled up, to tell them what they want to hear, and to make all kinds of promises about how he’ll improve their lives, stick it to their rivals, and help them regain a sense of prosperity. It was these kinds of promises that got him elected to the White House, after all.
But since he’s been in office, he hasn’t been able to fulfill many of those promises. Trump, famously known as a “deal-maker,” has managed to accomplish some things; But in terms of helping those struggling middle and lower-class families that believed his campaign promises? So far, his administration has left a lot to be desired.
That hasn’t stopped Trump and his sycophants from hyping the “deals” he has made in office. Again, he’s managed to get many Americans short-term tax cuts (which may or may not increase their paychecks) and stack the courts with conservative judges. But in terms of “saving” jobs or improving the health care system? Millions of people are still waiting to see what kinds of “deals” the president can strike.
Here are some Trump “deals” that have, so far, turned out to be big nothingburgers.
The Carrier plant jobs
- Shortly after being elected, Trump made a big show of saving jobs at an Indiana Carrier plant. What happened to those jobs?
You likely remember the Carrier plant in Indiana that was set to lay off hundreds of workers and ship their jobs to Mexico. Trump stepped in and saved those jobs — or at least that’s the official narrative. In reality, Indiana gave Carrier massive tax breaks to keep the jobs in the state a little while longer (it didn’t hurt that Mike Pence was Indiana’s governor). Carrier took the tax breaks and promptly outsourced the jobs anyway. It was great PR for Trump to show off his “deal-making” abilities, but in the end, there isn’t really anything to show for it.
Next: How about all of those promises made to automotive workers?
Automotive industry promises
- Automotive workers were lured with promises of new plants and jobs. They haven’t materialized.
Areas in the South and Midwest are laden with automotive plants and workers — people who Trump heavily targeted while campaigning for president. He promised a whole slew of reforms, including new plants, friendlier trade agreements, and tariffs on imported cars. While you can argue that this stuff takes time, it’s hard to believe that much of those promised reforms will become a reality. Still, we’ll give the president more time to come through. So far, his promises have come up empty.
Next: The promises of new Trump hotels (and jobs) has fallen through.
Mystery Trump hotel openings
- The Trumps promised a slew of new hotels in a number of cities (and a lot of jobs with them). Where are they?
You may remember announcements about a host of new Trump hotels slated for a handful of American cities. The hotels were slated for cities like St. Louis, Louisville, and Denver, but since the announcement, we haven’t heard a peep about them. ProPublica dug into it and found that there was talk of “deals” for between 10 and 39 new hotels. But ProPublica also found that none of these deals have been made — and that there are no current plans to build any hotels. In fact, there isn’t even any evidence that these “deals” will be made anytime soon.
Next: Saudi Arabian arms “deals”.
$110 billion Saudi Arabian arms contracts
- One of Trump’s big foreign trips to the Middle East bore fruit in the form of $110 billion defense deals. Or not.
Way back in May 2017, Trump took a trip to the Middle East, including a stop in Saudi Arabia. While there, he reportedly hammered out arms “deals” amounting to $110 billion — contracts that would be fulfilled by American companies. The issue, naturally, is that there doesn’t appear to be any “deals”.
According to Bruce Riedel, writing for the Brookings Institute: “It’s fake news.” He continued: “I’ve spoken to contacts in the defense business and on the Hill, and all of them say the same thing: There is no $110 billion deal. Instead, there are a bunch of letters of interest or intent, but not contracts. Many are offers that the defense industry thinks the Saudis will be interested in someday. So far nothing has been notified to the Senate for review. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the arms sales wing of the Pentagon, calls them ‘intended sales.’ None of the deals identified so far are new, all began in the Obama administration.”
Next: Trump previously announced huge “deals” in China. What were they?
China: $250 billion in deals
- Like the Saudi Arabia “deals”, Trump touted big investment from China — $250 billion worth.
In a very similar scenario to what happened in Saudi Arabia, Trump took a trip to China and came home boasting of the “deals” he made while in Asia. The headline figure was $250 billion in new contracts for American businesses, which should spur job growth domestically. Again, though, these “deals” don’t appear to be real — or at least don’t appear to be set in stone. What was signed were non-binding agreements and memorandums of understanding.
According to James McGregor, China chairman of the consultancy APCO Worldwide, who spoke with Bloomberg about the China deals: “To me, this is an old-style visit when you pile up all the deals so you can to get a big number.” He continued: “This was normal when the U.S. and China were just building ties, but now China is a global business power and has very damaging industrial policies and this seems naive. This is all for show for President Trump to demonstrate his deal-making prowess.”
Next: How about all of those promises made to automotive workers?
Tax cut bonuses
- Trump’s most recent exhibit: Companies showering employees with bonus checks as thanks for their massive corporate tax cut.
The tax reform bill signed just before Christmas 2017 has, thus far, been Trump’s biggest accomplishment. Promised were tax cuts for the average American, too, though those tax cuts expire while the corporate rate (dropping from 35% to 21%) is permanent. After its signing, companies celebrated and kissed the ring. AT&T, in perhaps the most talked-about show of fawning, announced $1,000 bonuses for 200,000 employees. It was a direct result, AT&T’s CEO said, to the tax reform bill.
That wasn’t quite true, as it turns out, as those bonus checks were actually a part of a union deal that had been signed previously. Also, AT&T promptly decided to fire more than 1,000 workers in 2018.
Finally: Has Trump kept his promises to the steelworkers in the Midwest?
Protecting and growing steel jobs
- Trump also promised to protect certain industries, including the jobs of thousands of steelworkers.
Like the promises to autoworkers, Trump also promised to protect the American steel industry and the hundreds of thousands of workers that it employs. Last summer, Trump promised an announcement regarding the steel industry specifically — an announcement (regarding tariffs) that never came. In fact, according to the New York Times, steel imports soared during 2017. Again, it looks as though Trump’s promises were empty, and that American workers are stuck waiting for action and looking like they were used as political props by a showboating president.
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