A Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner taxis in Seattle, Washington. Sept. 17, 2013.
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Trump tells a familiar falsehood about Chinese manufacturing

Updated
Four years ago, just a few weeks before Election Day, Mitt Romney suggested to voters that Chrysler was poised to move Jeep production from Ohio to China. As longtime readers may recall, that wasn’t true – and Romney knew it wasn’t true. But when confronted with the truth the candidate doubled and tripled down on the falsehood, even as auto industry executives called him out for deceiving the public.

The New York Times editorialized, “It’s bad enough to be wrong on the policy. It takes an especially dishonest candidate to simply turn up the volume on a lie and keep repeating it.” What’s more, the Toledo Blade chastised Romney for “conducting an exercise in deception about auto-industry issues that is remarkable even by the standards of his campaign.”

Four years later, Donald Trump campaigned in Florida and repeated a similar claim, except this time, it was a Republican accusing Boeing of moving 757 production from the United States to China. The New York Times reported this week:
[Trump] spoke before a packed crowd at an airplane hangar, lined rail to rail, each face shown bright by extra houselights hung by the campaign for the filming of an apparent advertisement…. At one point, Mr. Trump looked to his red, white and blue plane to illustrate a common point from the rally.

“See that plane, see that plane? That plane was built in America,” he said. “Now that same company is going to start building these planes in China.”
And this claim got me thinking about whether or not Trump’s correct.

He’s not. The Toronto Star’s Daniel Dale, who’s been doing great work highlighting many of Trump’s more egregious daily falsehoods, noted yesterday, “The 757 is no longer being manufactured. While Boeing is opening a China plant to install interiors and paint exteriors on 737s, the vast majority of its manufacturing is remaining in the U.S.”

That’s right. As the Seattle Times reported a year ago, Boeing and Chinese officials reached an agreement for “completion work” to be done in China on 737s. That’s not great news for the company’s American employees, of course, since the work used to be done near Seattle, but Trump made the case that Boeing is moving plane manufacturing to China.

It’s not. That’s every bit as wrong as Romney’s bogus Chinese manufacturing claims in 2012.

Sure, as Trump lies go, this may seem fairly modest, but after Monday’s debate, there seemed to be broad agreement that Trump is at his strongest when he’s talking about trade and the United States “losing” to China. The problem, of course, is that Trump may seem the most confident when discussing these issues, but he still doesn’t actually know what he’s talking about.



China, Donald Trump and Trade

Trump tells a familiar falsehood about Chinese manufacturing

Updated