On Thursday evening, President-elect Donald Trump took to Twitter to announce that he “Just got a call from my friend Bill Ford, Chairman of Ford, who advised me that he will be keeping the Lincoln plant in Kentucky - no Mexico.” He followed up a few minutes later to assert his role in the decision: “I worked hard with Bill Ford to keep the Lincoln plant in Kentucky. I owed it to the great State of Kentucky for their confidence in me!”
The tweets received almost immediate pushback: According to several news outlets, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, Ford had never planned to move the plant in question to Mexico. In fact, the company had simply been planning to phase out American production of one car model, the Lincoln MKC, by 2019—a move which would have had a net-zero effect on employment in the Louisville plant, since it’s ramping up production of other models. Though the connection between the phone call and Ford’s decision remains unclear, The Wall Street Journal later reported that “people close to [Bill Ford] … see the Lincoln move as a relatively painless but authentic way to give Mr. Trump a victory even before he moves into the White House.”
So far, neither Trump nor anybody on his transition team has clarified Trump’s tweets, which, it should be noted, are not the first time that the president-elect has tweeted about the topic. In October of last year, Trump likewise claimed, both in a speech and via tweet, that Ford had decided against building a plant in Mexico because of attention he had drawn to the proposal. Although Ford quickly responded that it had not, in fact, cancelled this plan, Trump tweeted twice more to take credit for the alleged decision and assert that his opponents could not have done the same.