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Trump's boasts about jobs saved at Carrier start to evaporate

President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence wave as they visit to Carrier factory, Dec. 1, 2016, in Indianapolis, Ind. (Photo by Evan Vucci/AP)
President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence wave as they visit to Carrier factory, Dec. 1, 2016, in Indianapolis, Ind.
During the transition period between Election Day and Inauguration Day, Donald Trump claimed one notable achievement. The Republican, following through on a promise he made on the campaign trail, announced in late November that he'd reached an agreement with Carrier that would keep hundreds of jobs in Indiana.It sounded great, but even at the time, the boasts came with fine print. Trump exaggerated the number of jobs saved, rewarded a company with taxpayer money that was closing a plant and shipping jobs to Mexico, and fudged the facts about how many of the saved jobs will be eliminated anyway.The Washington Post reported this week that, six months after the president's most important economic accomplishment, Trump's victory is starting to look like a failure.

Carrier, the company President Trump pledged to keep on American soil, informed the state of Indiana this week that it will soon begin cutting 632 workers from an Indianapolis factory. The manufacturing jobs will move to Monterrey, Mexico, where the minimum wage is $3.90 per day.That was never supposed to happen, according to Trump's campaign promises. He told Indiana residents at a rally last year there was a "100 percent chance" he would save the jobs at the heating and air-conditioning manufacturer.

The more one compares Trump's 2016 promises to 2017 reality, the worse his assurances look."Carrier stepped it up, and now they're keeping over 1,100 people," he said after the announcement. Trump added, "And by the way, that number is going to go up substantially as they expand this area, this plant. The 1,100 is going to be a minimum number."Even at the time, those numbers were inflated in demonstrably dishonest ways, but we now know his assurances about the future were wrong, too. Most of those jobs Trump bragged about keeping in the United States will now be gone.The White House and its allies will likely argue that it's not fair to hold this president -- or any president -- directly responsible for one company's business decision about jobs at one plant. The scrutiny simply isn't reasonable.And at face value, that's a compelling argument. The United States has a massive economy in which jobs are created and lost every day, as some companies thrive and others suffer. The power of the presidency is considerable, but blaming (or crediting) an administration for every factory closing (or opening) is folly.The trouble in this case is that Donald J. Trump doesn't seem to understand this. It's why he gave those Carrier workers and their families a "100 percent" guarantee that he'd save those jobs -- even though he had no idea what he was talking about. Trump later boasted that the number of jobs at that plant would soon "go up substantially," which only added insult to injury because he had no way of making that happen.I don't blame Trump for Carrier's business decision; I blame Trump for deceiving those workers, looking them in the eye and making promises he couldn't keep.