US President Donald J. Trump after a group photo on the second day of the G7 Summit at the Hotel San Domenico in Taormina, Sicily, Italy, 27 May 2017.
Angelo Carconi

The wrong president to tout ‘Made in America’ week

You might have missed “energy week” at the White House. It followed “transportation week.” And who can forget the unbridled excitement surrounding “workforce development week,” which somehow escaped the nation’s attention.

Donald Trump’s communications apparatus – still lacking a communications director – apparently hopes to convey a sense of purpose and accomplishment with message-specific weeks, which no one actually seems to care anything about. It’s not an inherently bad idea – these little p.r. gimmicks are, in theory, a chance for an administration to highlight its priorities – but in practice, the undisciplined president tends to shift attention elsewhere.

Nevertheless, Trump World keeps trying. According to the Washington Post, this week is “Made in America” week, which is certainly an issue the president pretends to care about, despite being the wrong messenger for this particular message.

President Trump, whose company outsources the manufacturing of many of its products to overseas factories, is unveiling “Made in America” week at the White House to promote products made in the United States.

In keeping with the “America First” theme of Trump’s inauguration, the administration will highlight U.S. manufacturing in the coming week, the latest of its theme weeks orchestrated by aides to bring discipline to the White House and focus Trump’s schedule and message on a set of policies.

What this week’s events will likely exclude is an exploration of Trump’s business practices, which have relied on product manufacturing in “a global network of factories in a dozen countries – including Bangladesh, China and Mexico.”

Trump administration officials hosted a background briefing with reporters yesterday to highlight this week’s events. Asked whether the White House intends to comment about the Trump Organization’s outsourcing, a spokesperson said, “We’ll get back to you on that.”

If there’s any follow-through, I’ll be curious to see what Team Trump comes up with. After all, the president, his populist-sounding rhetoric notwithstanding, has “sold foreign-made products under his name for years” and has relied extensively on foreign-made products for his hotels and properties.

Trump clearly sees “Made in America” as a political winner and, as was the case during the campaign, assumes most of the public won’t look too closely at his own record on the subject. Still, given the president’s background, “Made in America” week at the White House creates an interesting risk on one of Trump’s many vulnerabilities.

Donald Trump

The wrong president to tout 'Made in America' week