President-elect Donald Trump took credit Wednesday for bringing a total of 8,000 jobs to the U.S., when those jobs were part of a previously announced commitment that there’s no evidence Trump was involved in.
During brief remarks outside his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, Trump said 5,000 jobs at Sprint Wireless would be returning to the U.S. from abroad and 3,000 would be created at OneWeb “because of what’s happening and the spirit and the hope.”
“I was just called by the head people at Sprint and they’re going to be bringing 5,000 jobs back to the United States,” Trump said. “They’re taking them from other countries, they’re bringing them back to the United States. And also OneWeb, a new company, is going to be hiring 3,000 people.”
Media outlets quickly ran with the news that Trump was bringing jobs back to the U.S., in some cases connecting it to the president-elect’s intervention at Carrier several weeks ago that kept 800 jobs at the company from moving to Mexico.
”Look, Sprint and another company, 8,000 jobs, we will take it,” Fox News’ Heather Nauert said Wednesday shortly after Trump’s remarks. “I don’t care if he is announcing 500 jobs or whether it’s 50,000 jobs. The point is bringing jobs back and that contributes to optimism.”
“This is part of the process and progression forward,” Fox News’ Kimberly Guilfoyle added.
MSNBC’s Peter Alexander called Trump a “genius marketer” for the stunt.
“But this does benefit Donald Trump, right, because it leads people to believe he is having a real impact on this issue,” he said.
In fact, those Sprint and OneWeb jobs Trump says he created were part of a $50 billion investment plan Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. developed in October, ahead of his election. The plan was announced earlier in December following a meeting between SoftBank’s billionaire owner, Masayoshi Son, and the president-elect. Trump took credit for that investment plan too, even though (again) it predated his election.
Several hours after Trump’s Wednesday remarks, when Sprint confirmed that the jobs had been previously announced, the president-elect continued to take credit.
“Because of me they are doing 5,000 jobs in this country,” Trump told reporters on the steps of Mar-a-Lago.
Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure tweeted Thursday that the 5,000 jobs Trump’s been touting are “NEW” jobs.
“Stop speculating. This has NOTHING to do with previously announced @Sprint initiatives,” Claure wrote, directly contradicting comments made by a Sprint spokesman the night before.
Trump’s incoming press secretary, Sean Spicer, doubled down on the president-elect’s claim on Twitter later Wednesday.
Come Thursday morning, headlines failing to succinctly frame Trump’s stunt remained, and networks continued to laud Trump for bringing jobs back.
“President-elect Donald Trump delivering on his promise once again to bring more jobs to America,” Nauert said during a Thursday morning broadcast. “Mr. Trump announcing an agreement with Sprint to haul about 5,000 jobs back to the United States and another company that will bring in 3,000 jobs. ... This after that deal with Carrier to keep jobs in Indiana.”
Trump’s comments follow a pattern of Trump taking credit for things he had no or little hand in, including the state of the U.S. economy before he’s even taken office. Earlier this week, the president-elect fired off several tweets patting himself on the back for recent gains in consumer confidence and the value of the stock market.
As HuffPost’s Daniel Marans wrote, “The tweets illustrate what we already knew about Trump ― that he’s happy to hold up relatively innocuous economic data and claim that it’s proof of his greatness.”
This article has been updated with comments from Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure.