Column: Dabbler-in Chief’s Twitter pressure

On President Ronald Reagan’s desk in the Oval Office was a small plaque bearing the inscription, “There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn’t mind who gets the credit.”

The man who will be the nation’s 45th president does not seem to share the sentiment of the 40th. Donald Trump claims credit at every turn, having turned personal branding into great financial and political fortune. Of late he’s been claiming credit for saving thousands of American jobs.

Trump’s political opponents object that he’s vastly inflated his own influence on decisions that were already made. They say that by Twitter-trolling corporate CEOs, he’s politicizing business decisions

This may all be true. But if you believe, like Reagan, that results are what really matter, who cares if Trump gets the credit – as long as he gets the blame if things don’t work out.

Consider the decision announced by Ford Motor Co. this week that it was abandoning plans to build a new factory in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, to build its Focus models. Trump had made a big deal of this during the campaign, threatening to impose a 35 percent tariff on Mexican-made cars imported into the United States.

He couldn’t really do this by himself, of course, but it was effective campaign rhetoric. Ford got the message, sort of. Instead of building a new plant in Mexico, it will shift production of the Focus to an existing plant in Mexico. It will spend about half the savings on building electric vehicles and self-driving cars in Michigan and Illinois, adding 700 new jobs.

Was Ford going to do this anyway? Yes, Ford executives told reporters. The company isn’t selling enough Focuses to justify a new plant. Does it hurt to give the new president a heads-up, as chairman Bill Ford did on Tuesday morning? Of course not.

Similarly, Trump’s announcement in December that he had convinced Sprint to bring back 5,000 call-center jobs to the United States was endorsed by Sprint Chairman Masayoshi Son – even though the decision had been made earlier. Telecoms like Sprint need a lot of government favor.

Now General Motors is in Trump’s sights. On Tuesday he criticized GM for importing some Chevrolet Cruze models from Mexico, tweeting that GM should pay a “big border tax” on the imports. In fact, GM builds most Cruze models in Lordstown, Ohio, and imports only 4,500 hatchback models into the U.S.

But GM is planning layoffs in Lordstown because of slowing sales even as it plans to expand SUV production in Mexico. Trump’s dabbling with GM’s cost structure could make Toyota and Nissan, GM’s Japanese competitors, very happy.

He may not care, as long as he gets the credit.

Editor’s note: This editorial was published Sunday in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.


Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comment submissions may not exceed a 200 word limit, and in order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit excessive comment entries.

Wildrose 1 week, 4 days ago

I would say stay tuned for Obama's speech tonight to see how much credit he has taken for what he believes are wonderful things he has done for America.

First he will lie about his accomplishments - for instance how many jobs have actually been created. Then take complete credit for them. Left out will be, more people out of the workforce than in decades, some new jobs are short hours and low wages.

He will defend Obamacare, making it look like it has been wonderful rather than the nightmare it is that has driven good Dr's to leave their chosen profession and go into real estate, insurance companies going under, deductibles now out of sight, not enough Dr's to go around, more people than ever now simply going to the ER and those charged for not getting Obamacare actually being against the law. And the massive paperwork that now causes what Dr's we have to use their patient time on a computer typing in info.


OlderNWiser 1 week, 4 days ago

Hillary lost. Get over it already.


Applejacks 1 week, 3 days ago

Reader's note..... it would be nice to know who wrote it in addition to where and when it was originally published.


Smith 1 week ago

Moscow's puppet takes the oath on Jan. 20, 2017! Senate starts intelligence investigation with subpoena power, into Trumps campaign connections to Russians!!!! Nixon did not get himself into trouble till 2nd term, rumors of treason, violation of "Logan Act" have started on Trump he has not even taken the oath yet!


KingmanCares 1 week ago

I'm going to enjoy watching the demented left twist themselves into knots as they hope some kind of dirt can be found on President Trump over the next 8 years. They will nurture this hate for him and some will cough up this nurtured hate every chance they get to anyone who might listen.

Meanwhile, as the country thrives and improves in every way possible, their voices and writings will become even less relevant than it is now and it's pretty irrelevant now.

There's one exception we can clearly see. The BLM, congressional black caucus, and their race baiter spokesmen like Al Sharpton will hold back any healing of race relations. They must nurture this divisiveness and keep it alive because it's what makes them at all relevant even though it's a fake relevance. It’s also how they get paid lots of money. During this MLK weekend it's important to note these people working hard to keep us divided should be shunned and scorned unfortunately far too many believe in their hateful message. Sad.


Trakker 5 days, 8 hours ago

8 years? He has to maintain his deception for the first 4 years first, I don't think he'll make it!


Smith 5 days, 14 hours ago

C-Span hack the other day, Russian television inserted into its place! Was this Russians mocking our election or was it some coded message to their Russian sleeper agents in America and the 5th columnist who are preparing to enter the white house after taking the oath in a few days?