Fact Check: Did Trump Break His Promise On Manufacturing Jobs?

Democrat presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand launched a TV ad last week slamming President Trump for failing to keep one of his flagship election promises — to bring back manufacturing jobs to America. This promise was one of the things that won Trump the support of so many ordinary American workers, but now a leading Dem is saying he’s let his voters down. Is Gillibrand right — or is this attack campaign just more second-rate Dem work?


  • Gillibrand produced the video as part of her so-called “Trump Broken Promises Tour,” which saw her visit six cities in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan last week.
  • Her central argument is that the president promised to boost American manufacturing, but hasn’t done that. In fact, she claims in the video that these jobs are actually suffering. One story is about the closure of a GM plant in Lordstown, Ohio.
  • The Lordstown plant did close, but the video was slanted to suggest that this is something that’s happening all over the US — that, instead of bringing jobs back to the country, Trump’s policies are actually losing them.
  • About two years into Obama’s presidency, US manufacturing started to recover from the financial crisis and new jobs began to appear. That slowed and went into reverse in 2016, though, with a net loss of about 16,000 jobs. Gillibrand didn’t mention that.
  • What she also didn’t mention is that in the first two years of Trump’s presidency, an average of 19,000 new manufacturing jobs a month were created. There are almost half a million more American workers making things than there were when he took office.
  • It’s always possible to cherry-pick the data to find what you want, and that’s exactly what Gillibrand did for her video. She focused on an auto plant that was closing — but the auto industry has been one of the strongest performers under Trump.
  • You can argue that some of Trump’s specific claims during the campaign didn’t pan out — he said not one plant would be lost, for example, and it’s true that some have closed — but the general message was that he would help to restore America’s position as a manufacturing nation. On that, the record is clear.

Why did some plants close while new ones were being opened? That’s just normal economic churn. If you expect nothing to ever close, you’d need to live in some kind of centrally planned nightmare right out of Atlas Shrugged. We don’t. We live in the real world, and the reality is that President Trump has overseen a huge expansion of US manufacturing. Don’t you agree?

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