President Donald Trump traveled to Austin, Texas, on Wednesday to tour a manufacturing plant with Apple chief executive Tim Cook, touting what he called a “new” facility that would bring high-paying jobs back to America.
The only problem? The plant has been making Apple computers since 2013, long before Trump was elected.
The president toured a facility run by an independent company called Flex Ltd. that assembles Apple’s expensive Mac Pro computers. During the tour, Trump suggested that his efforts to convince companies to relocate their manufacturing facilities back to the U.S. — and in particular, his relationship with Cook over the past few years — had paid off.
“We’re seeing the beginning of a very powerful and important plant,” said Trump, who has long boasted about his efforts to convince manufacturers to come back to America. “Anybody that followed my campaign, I would always talk about Apple, that I want to see Apple building plants in the United States. And that’s what’s happening.”
But that assertion is not true, and Cook did not correct Trump after he made the statements.
The New York Times’ Jack Nicas noted shortly after the event that Apple has not, in fact, built any new plants in the U.S. since Trump’s election and that the vast majority of its products are still made overseas.
The tech giant did release more details about its previously announced $1 billion campus in Austin that will house 5,000 white-collar employees beginning in 2022. But those roles will, by and large, not be manufacturing jobs.
“With the construction of our new campus in Austin now underway, Apple is deepening our close bond with the city and the talented and diverse workforce that calls it home,” Cook said in a company statement.
Trump repeated his falsehood on Twitter later in the day, saying, “Today I opened a major Apple Manufacturing plant in Texas that will bring high paying jobs back to America.” He also shared a video of his tour of the plant.
Trump commended Apple for building the Mac Pro in the U.S. on Wednesday, saying that by doing so, Cook didn’t “have to worry about tariffs” that would affect the cost of the final product.
That’s also false. The Verge notes that some Mac Pro parts are imported from China, and Apple has to pay tariffs on them before the devices are assembled in Texas. A new round of tariffs is set to go into effect on Dec. 15, and it will potentially affect the cost of a bevy of Apple products, including iPhones.
Apple was flirting with the idea of moving production overseas earlier this year to lower the costs of the Mac Pro but said in September that the latest iteration of the computer would be assembled in Austin after all.
The president also tweeted another confusing lie on Wednesday, saying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had “closed Congress” on Wednesday, apparently pointing to the ongoing impeachment investigation into the Trump administration’s dealings with Ukraine.
Congress was not closed. Many House lawmakers were holding those hearings. Meanwhile, the Senate advanced an important bill addressing the crisis of missing and murdered Native American women.