U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said on Thursday he was spending part of his Thanksgiving holiday trying to persuade an Indiana air conditioner maker to keep production in the United States – reflecting his campaign pledge to stop the flow of jobs abroad.
Trump, who is also weighing decisions on his Cabinet during a family retreat at his Mar-a-Lago golf resort in Florida, said on Twitter he was “working hard, even on Thanksgiving, trying to get Carrier A.C. Company to stay in the U.S. (Indiana). MAKING PROGRESS – Will know soon!”
Carrier Corp, a division of United Technologies Corp, responded on Twitter that the company has had “discussions with the incoming administration” but had “nothing to announce at this time.” A representative for the company had no additional comment.
Earlier this year, the company said it would move 1,400 jobs to Mexico from Indiana, giving a three-year timetable for the shift.
The state’s Republican governor, Mike Pence – later picked by Trump as his vice-presidential running mate – decried the decision, and spoke out against it often on the campaign trail.
Trump made Carrier’s decision part of his rallying cry against trade deals that he said were unfavorable to American workers. He said he would slap taxes on the company’s air conditioners shipped back to the United States.
Asked by Reuters last week whether the company was reconsidering its decision given Trump’s victory in the Nov. 8 election over Democrat Hillary Clinton, the company said in a statement it was “making every effort” to help its Indiana employees during the shift.
“By providing three years advance notice of the move and by funding education and retraining programs for up to four years after the move is complete, we are providing employees with both time and opportunity to help them to make a smooth transition,” the company said.
Carrier also cited an agreement it had reached with the United Steelworkers union about compensation for affected workers.
Trump also railed against Ford Motor Co during the campaign, and took a victory lap on Twitter last week after the company informed him it would not shift production of a Lincoln sport utility vehicle to Mexico from Kentucky.
“I worked hard with Bill Ford to keep the Lincoln plant in Kentucky,” Trump tweeted, referring to Ford’s executive chairman.
Ford had never considered moving the whole factory south of the border, but said it was encouraged by Trump’s business policies.
Trump, who takes office on Jan. 20, has been interviewing candidates for his Cabinet and other top White House positions. He and Pence have held more than 60 such meetings since the election.
Trump announced two picks on Wednesday for his Cabinet – South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and wealthy Republican donor and school choice advocate Betsy DeVos to lead the Education Department. Both are subject to Senate confirmation.
Major choices for the Pentagon, State Department and Treasury are still to come. A spokesman said no announcements were expected on Thursday.
Trump’s State Department deliberations have spurred debate within his inner circle – particularly his consideration of Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and businessman who ran against Democratic President Barack Obama in the 2012 election.
Romney would be a comforting pick for establishment Republicans. But hardline Trump backers believe he should be disqualified because he called Trump a “fraud” during the Republican nominating race and urged Republicans to stop him from becoming their candidate for the 2016 election.
Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s senior adviser, said on Thursday she was on the receiving end of a “deluge of social media & private comms” about the Romney option, noting being “loyal” was a positive attribute for the job.
Trump and Pence were “spending significant time” on the secretary of state pick, spokesman Jason Miller told reporters on Wednesday.
“They’ll be looking for things like chemistry, experience, a similar vision into what the president-elect and vice president elect are trying to do with this administration,” Miller said.