President-elect Donald Trump tweeted Thanksgiving morning that he was trying to make good on a campaign promise that a Carrier air conditioning factory in Indiana, and its 1,400 jobs, would not move to Mexico in 2019 as planned.
“I am working hard, even on Thanksgiving, trying to get Carrier A.C. Company to stay in the U.S. (Indiana). MAKING PROGRESS - Will know soon!:” Trump tweeted.
Carrier, a division of United Technologies Corp. of Hartford, Conn., responded with a tweet about an hour later: “Carrier has had discussions with the incoming administration and we look forward to working together. Nothing to announce at this time.”
During the campaign, Trump called the planned closure of the Indianapolis plant “disgusting” and “un-American” and made it a campaign rallying cry. At an Indianapolis event in May he went further, offering the crowd a “100% guarantee” the plant would not leave if he were elected.
“Here’s what’s going to happen,” Trump said, according to Bloomberg. “They’re going to call me and they are going to say ‘Mr. President, Carrier has decided to stay in Indiana.’”
“One hundred percent -- that’s what is going to happen,” Trump added. “It’s not like we have an 80% chance of keeping them or a 95% — 100%.”
The Carrier back-and-forth was reminiscent of a similar exchange over manufacturing facilities that Trump began a week earlier, when the president-elect bragged on Twitter that he had received a call from Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford Motor Co., saying “he will be keeping the Lincoln plant in Kentucky — no Mexico.”
Trump’s claim was exaggerated, as Ford’s union contract prevented it from shutting down its Louisville Assembly Plant. Ford clarified that it had merely decided not to relocate production of a single vehicle, the Lincoln MKC, from Kentucky.
Carrier announced its plans to shut down the Indiana plant in February, with the closure slated for 2019.
Chris Nelson, a Carrier president overseeing the unit, issued a statement at the time saying the move to Mexico would allow the company “to operate more cost effectively” because of the industry’s ongoing migration to that area as well as “cost and pricing pressures driven, in part, by new regulatory requirements.”
The closure could lead to the loss of more than $100 million to the Indiana economy and more than 1,000 other jobs that indirectly rely on the plant, according to some estimates.
Trump’s promise to save the plant was met with skepticism in some corners of Indiana, home state of Vice President-elect Mike Pence, but he carried the state easily over Hillary Clinton.
Jonathan O’Connell writes for the Washington Post.