A few days ago the White House proclaimed this week to be “Made in America” week, an effort to promote American jobs and products. Ironically, President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago golf club recently applied to employ additional foreign workers as part of the H-2B visa program, which is basically the exact opposite of what the White House wants to promote.
It’s certainly not the first time that President Trump's “Make America Great Again” slogan has contradicted his personal business practices. So to close out “Made in America” week, here are five times President Trump betrayed blue-collar workers.
1. Trump’s buildings are made with Chinese steel
Getting tough with China was one of Trump’s biggest messages while on the campaign trail. But as a businessman, he's actually quite cozy with Chinese companies. Last fall, Newsweek discovered that in two of Trump’s latest construction projects, he chose to purchase steel from Chinese companies instead of those in America’s Rust Belt. And it wasn’t just steel. He also purchased aluminum and other materials from Chinese companies to construct his buildings. So any time you see “Trump” on a building, you might as well be reading, “Made in China.”
2. Trump Tower was built with illegal immigrants
Trump Tower is probably Trump’s crowning achievement. It’s where he lives, works and hosted his reality television show. But what Trump doesn’t want you to know is that his most famous building was built by illegal immigrants. The New York Times reported that around 200 illegal polish immigrants, who were called the “Polish Brigade,” worked 12 hour shifts, seven days a week to build Trump Tower. Thy were also not given overtime and sometimes were not paid at all. They also faced harsh working conditions, such as not being provided with hard hats. The Polish Brigade filed a lawsuit against Trump for what they faced during construction, which was eventually settled in 1999.
So not only does he hire illegal immigrants, he also makes sure to treat them as poorly as possible.
3. Trump stole millions of dollars from regular Americans
In 2006, Trump began plans to build condo buildings in Baja California (which is in Mexico, another place Trump says he wants to get tough with). As they began their plans, Trump and his associates received around $32.5 million in deposits from about 250 people for units in the future Trump buildings. In 2009, Trump announced that he was cancelling his plans to build the condos, and everyone who gave their deposits lost their money. Trump did similar actions in Tampa and Fort Lauderdale in Florida, and faced lawsuits for all these instances. Victims received some compensation from these lawsuits, but were still in the red as a result of the deal.
There’s a word for this type of behavior: fraud.
4. Pretty much any item with his name on it was made in a foreign country
Trump loves to put his name on things. Buildings, clothing, water bottles, etc. And while he’s promoting “Made in America” week, he has not lived by that slogan at all. Donald Trump suits are made in Mexico and Indonesia and Donald Trump dress shirts are made in Bangladesh. And then there’s China, where Trump’s ties, throw blankets, and chandeliers (yes, Trump chandeliers) are all made.
And it’s not just the Trump patriarch who gets his products made overseas. Ivanka Trump also has a popular line of clothing and shoes, most of which are made in China. In fact, it came out this week that Ivanka Trump Apparel has imported 53 metric tons of goods from China. So maybe they should change this week to "Purchased in America" week.
5. Even when he does hire Americans, he refuses to pay them
When Trump does hire Americans to work on his projects, he seems to go out of his way to screw them over. USA Today reported that Trump’s faced over 60 lawsuits from individuals and business who claim he never paid them for work they completed. This includes anything from dishwashers to plumbers to even, ironically, law firms. He’s also faced more than 200 mechanic’s liens, basically a public claim for unpaid work, from various companies. These liens range from $75,000 to $1 million. He’s also been cited for 24 violations of the Fair Labor Standards Acts for “failing to pay overtime or minimum wage.” So perhaps he should change his slogan to, “Make America Underpaid Again.”
So President Trump will probably need to add, “Do as I say, not as I do,” to any of his “Made in America” speeches this week.