“Buy America, Hire America” is no longer just a campaign bumper-sticker. It’s now the official policy of the executive branch of our government.
Early Tuesday, President Trump signed an executive order he says instructs federal agencies to “aggressively promote and use American-made goods.” The order also directs those agencies to begin reviewing the much maligned H1-B visa program that allows U.S. companies to hire highly skilled foreign workers.
CNN’s Jack Tapper opened Tuesday’s episode of his show The Lead with a scathing rebuttal of the order, asking his audience, “So wait, does that mean he wants me to stop buying Trump products?”
“‘Buying American and hiring American – it’s time,’ the president said today repeatedly, assailing cheap subsidized and low-quality foreign goods. It’s an important issue. It’s one I asked then-candidate Trump about in June 2015 because of course, many Trump corporation products are not made in the U.S. Far from it.”
Tapper then cut to his 2015 interview where he confronted Trump wearing a Trump tie and challenged his criticisms that American companies needed to stop shipping jobs to China and other countries, asking him point blank, “Is it hypocritical at all for you to talk about this?”
Tapper cut back to his live shot and continued:
“It’s not just the ties, of course. Trump clothing is made in Bangladesh, it’s made in Pakistan, it’s made in India and Honduras, in addition to the United States. Ivanka Trump apparel is also made in China, and Indonesia, and Vietnam.”
Trump’s fondness for foreign goods over American made goods isn’t limited to his clothing line. According to a investigation by Newsweek, “…in at least two of Trump’s last three construction projects, Trump opted to purchase his steel and aluminum from Chinese manufacturers rather than United States corporations based in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin.”
In his Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago project alone, Newsweek estimates that Trump paid a Chinese aluminum supplier at least $350 million for the panels that compose the “curtain wall” exterior – the visible metal and metal-coated glass skin surrounding the interior structure.
That means that up to one half of a BILLION dollars went to China – not to Ohio, or Pennsylvania, or Texas, states that have all seen closures that amount to half of the entire American smelting industry. And that’s just for a single Trump hotel!
Clearly the President’s actions don’t match his words on the “Buy American” half of this equation. On the topic of “Hiring American,” however, Trump’s record is just as reprehensible.
Tapper went on to point out that 1,371 foreign worker visas have been granted to Trump-operated companies since 2001 alone, including 78 visas requested to staff his Mar-a-Lago Club with foreigners just this fiscal year.
“The president could be a leader here, not just as a President, but as a corporate titan,” Tapper asked his correspondent traveling with President Trump in Wisconsin, where he unveiled the order. “Does the White House acknowledge that he has not practiced what he’s preaching?”
“Well, Jake, that is not something that came up here in Kenosha [Wisconsin] when the President was speaking,” the correspondent responded.
Of course it didn’t. Tellingly, the executive order does not affect the private sector. Corporations and business large and small can still buy cheaper foreign-made goods and request visas for foreign workers – businesses like those owned and operated by the Trump family.
How convenient. You can see this segment of The Lead below.
Peter Mellado is a writer, producer, and a branding and messaging specialist with over 15 years experience. He studied history at San Jose State University, and resides in Los Angeles.