Donald Trump told reporters Wednesday at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida that Sprint had called him with some good news: “Because of what’s happening and the spirit and the hope,” the telecommunications company would be “bringing 5,000 jobs back to the United State and taking them from other countries.” He also said that OneWeb, a satellite Internet startup, would hire 3,000 additional people domestically.
Trump acted as if these 8,000 jobs were new, but they were part of the 50,000 jobs pledged weeks ago by Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp., a Sprint spokesman confirmed in a statement Wednesday. SoftBank owns about 80 percent of Sprint and also recently invested in OneWeb. In early December, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son met with Trump and later announced a $50 billion investment in the United States with the goal of creating 50,000 new jobs.
Whether SoftBank had always intended to make such an investment or not, the company ingratiated itself with Trump when the president-elect took credit for the jobs. “Masa [Son] said he would never do this had we (Trump) not won the election,” Trump tweeted in early December.
In November, Trump also negotiated with Carrier, an air-conditioning company, to stop it from outsourcing at least 800 jobs from Indiana to Mexico.
Almost never do sitting presidents, let alone presidents-elect, negotiate one-on-one with companies. Trump’s deals, however, have allowed him to follow through on campaign promises before he even takes office. Trump repeatedly pledged during the election to punish companies that outsourced to other countries and even bring back those jobs. But some members of his own party, including ally Sarah Palin, have raised questions about Trump’s forceful interference in the free market.