President Trump on Monday launched “Made in America Week” to salute businesses that make products in the US — but the White House struggled to explain why so many Trump-branded products were manufactured overseas.
The president and Vice President Pence later schmoozed with manufacturers from all 50 states who displayed their products on the South Lawn “Where’s the fire? I’ll put it out!” Trump quipped as he eyeballed a firetruck made by Pierce Manufacturing of Wisconsin.
The products included everything from New-York made Steinway pianos to New Jersey’s Campbell’s Soup to Sikorsky helicopters manufactured in Connecticut.
There was also wine from California, cider doughnuts from New Hampshire and beer from Rhode Island.
But what didn’t appear on the list the White House released were any Trump-branded products or items from Ivanka Trump’s fashion line, virtually all of which were manufactured in countries with cheap labor such as China Vietnam, and Bangladesh.
On Monday, for example, shoppers at Lord & Taylor in Manhattan could purchase a white ruffled top for $69 that was made in Indonesia or a pair of blue ankle length pants for $79 made in Vietnam.
One of the manufacturers on hand, Rick Johnson, CEO of Ditch Witch in Oklahoma, which made a horizontal directional drill displayed on the South Lawn, said when asked that he hoped Trump would move manufacture of some products to the US.
“I think it would set a good example for all companies,” he told The Post.
Peter O’Connell, president of Maine’s Hinckley boat makers, agreed.
“I think companies should build their products in America. I haven’t found any reason why you shouldn’t build them here. It’s a very competitive skilled workforce,” he said.
White house spokesman Sean Spicer declined comment.
“It’s not appropriate for me to stand up here and comment about a [specific] business. I believe that’s a little out of bounds,” Spicer said.
Asked if Trump was a credible spokesman for a “Made in America” campaign given his own goods are not made in America, he pointed to the president’s business savvy.
“I think he is in a unique way able to talk about the challenges that so many of these companies face,” he said.
Trump later spoke about the importance of American manufacturing and what he said would be better trade deals he hoped to negotiate.
“For decades Washington has allowed other nations to wipe out millions of American jobs through unfair trade practices,” he said, calling free trade “stupid trade.”
“Wait till you see what’s up for you. You are going to be so happy. We’re going to end up having a level playing field.”
Abigail Klem, who heads of Ivanka Trump’s company after she stepped away from the business for a White House job — said she won’t be shifting manufacturing to the US any time soon, explaining “to do it at a large scale is currently not possible.”
Credit: NY Post