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‘Promises made, workers betrayed’: Trump gave $425 billion in federal contracts to corporations that offshored 200,000 jobs

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President Donald Trump (Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Patrick Kelley.)

Despite the 2016 campaign promise that he made to voters in pivotal industrial swing states throughout the Midwest that he would end the profit-driven relocation of manufacturing jobs to lower-wage countries, President Donald Trump has awarded more than $425 billion in federal contracts to corporations responsible for offshoring 200,000 jobs held by U.S. workers, according to a new report published Monday by progressive think tank and advocacy group Public Citizen.

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“Time and time again, Donald Trump has proven that he will always put his corporate friends’ profits over the lives of American workers.”
—Rep. Mark Pocan
The report (pdf), Promises Made, Workers Betrayed: Trump’s Bigly Broken Promise to Stop Job Offshoring, was released during a press conference and is based on an analysis of data from the Department of Labor on trade-related job loss as well as data on federal procurement.

Researchers at Public Citizen found that Trump’s claim that he would deny billions worth of lucrative government contracts to companies that offshored jobs in order to encourage those firms to bring jobs back to U.S. factories was an empty threat. Instead, the report reveals, eight of the top 10 corporations receiving government contracts during Trump’s time in office have participated in offshoring.

According to the analysis, of the more than 300,000 U.S. workers who have lost their jobs as a result of worsening trade deficits during the Trump presidency, just over 200,000 of those jobs were classified as offshored.


“Trump lied to America’s workers when he told them jobs were staying in the United States,” said Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources, in a statement. “Under his watch jobs have left while he continues rewarding outsourcing corporations with millions of dollars in lucrative government contracts—in the middle of a pandemic.”

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At least $425.6 billion in public money has gone to firms that moved jobs overseas in the past four years, according to the analysis, which means that “at least one of every four taxpayer dollars spent by the federal government on procurement contracts during the Trump administration went to the pockets of companies that offshored American jobs.”

The report states that “the Trump administration awarded an average of 2.5 times the amount, or $10 billion more, in contracts to firms that offshored during his term than those that did not.”

“Time and time again, Donald Trump has proven that he will always put his corporate friends’ profits over the lives of American workers,” said Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.). “An administration that has promised to bring jobs back to our country… has given some of the largest government contract handouts to companies known for offshoring jobs.”

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According to the analysis, Boeing, General Electric (GE), and United Technologies (UT) have been among the biggest beneficiaries of government contracts during the Trump era even though all three corporations moved jobs to lower-wage locations.

Public Citizen found that during the Trump administration alone, Boeing offshored 5,800 jobs, GE offshored 2,046, and UT offshored 1,572. The latter was awarded $15.1 billion dollars in federal procurement contracts between 2017 and 2019 even while offshoring at least 1,300 jobs at its Carrier subsidiary that President-elect Trump promised to save.

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“Trump lied to America’s workers when he told them jobs were staying in the United States.”
—Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva
Despite President-elect Trump’s well-publicized 2016 intervention, during which he gained national attention for pledging to prevent offshoring at Carrier, the jobs of nearly 600 unionized workers at the company’s Indianapolis plant and all 700 at its Huntington, Indiana factory were relocated to Mexico in 2017, the report explains.

“This report is more evidence that Donald Trump is the King of Offshoring,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). “For his entire term in office, Trump has awarded billions in new government contracts to firms notorious for serial American job outsourcing, showered giant multinational corporations with tax giveaways, shrugged his shoulders while people get laid off and jobs are shipped overseas—and he keeps lying through his teeth about it all.”

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) explained how “in 2016, Trump struck a chord with voters in my district, and across the country by promising to bring those jobs back—but he has done just the opposite.”

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Trump “has failed to use any of the expansive authorities over procurement policy that all presidents have and that past presidents have employed to deliver on their policy commitments and goals,” researchers wrote in the report. “Despite authority under the Procurement Act of 1949 to enact ‘policies and directives’ for federal contracting, Trump failed to exclude offshoring firms from qualifying for federal contracts.”

“Since elected, President Trump has given tax incentives and awarded hundreds of billions of dollars in federal contracts to corporations that send jobs overseas,” Ryan said. “Enough is enough. It is past time to level the playing field and cut American workers in on the deal.”

Rep. Brendon Boyle (D-Pa.) echoed Ryan, pointing out that “working families know this economy is stacked against them as American workers face stagnant wages, benefit reductions, and unfair foreign competition… President Trump simply failed in holding up his end of the bargain when he allowed these jobs to land in foreign countries.”

Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, summarized the glaring contradiction between Trump’s ostensibly pro-worker campaign pledges and his administration’s actual corporate-friendly policies.

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“This is straight up promises made, workers betrayed,” she said.


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