Trump Keeps Making This Empty Promise About American Steel

April 4th 2017

Lita Martinez

President Donald Trump today reiterated his “America first” pledge to workers on Tuesday — but one of his claims about how he wants to do that simply doesn't add up.

President Donald Trump speaking at the 2017 NABTU National Legislative Conference

During a speech at the North American Building Trades Union legislative conference, he spoke at length about his promises to reduce regulation on businesses, and boost American manufacturing, infrastructure, and energy projects, including the transnational Keystone XL oil pipeline.

He also repeated a claim he first made at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference about how it would be built with American-made steel:

Trump signed an executive order shortly after taking office to allow construction on that pipeline, as well as the controversial Dakota Access pipeline, reversing a decision by President Barack Obama that had previously blocked both projects from moving forward.

However, his claim about pressuring oil companies to use American steel for those projects was debunked shortly after he first made it  — by his own administration.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the Associated Press last month the executive order only applied to “new pipelines or those that are being repaired.”

The Keystone pipeline, which is currently under construction, would stretch 1,1179 miles from Alberta, Canada, to Kansas, and eventually connect with existing pipelines to send crude oil to refineries on the US Gulf Coast. 

And while producing all that steel would be a win for American companies, most of the materials for the pipeline have already been made.

That’s raised questions about where the steel is actually from — and has sparked rumors that it may have come from Russia. 

However, that's been debunked by the fact-checking site Snopes. 

The speculation over Russian involvement in the Keystone project comes as several of President Trump's advisors, and some former members of his presidential campaign, are under investigation by the FBI for possible ties to Russian interference in the 2016 election.

TransCanada, the company that proposed and is working to build the pipeline, told the site the steel it plans to use was mostly manufactured in Canada and the U.S., though it's not entirely clear where all the raw material is from.

President Trump has made other big promises to American workers since coming into office. 


He recently signed an executive order scaling back Obama-era climate rules on carbon emissions, saying it would put a lot coal miners "back to work." But as we reported last week, even coal company executives are skeptical about whether that can do much to help their industry.