Trump's "Buy American, Hire American" Is Bogus

by Joseph D. Lyons
Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

President Donald Trump returned to one of the main populist themes of his presidential campaign rallies on Tuesday night. What was then "America First" has now morphed into a "Buy American, Hire American" presidential order that is aimed at strengthening laws that prioritize American-made goods and tighten requirements for H-1B visas that many tech companies use to bring foreign workers. All of this was accentuated by a ginormous American flag made of wrenches. But it concretely accentuates the hypocrisy of Trump's position because his order "Buy American, Hire American" means you shouldn't buy his products.

Barely anything associated with the Trump brand is made in America. The Washington Post published a rundown of the many Trump products that were imported, and it includes clothing, cuff links, glasses, and more. The same goes for his branded furniture, Vodka, and decorative items like picture frames. The pens that are put in rooms at his hotels are from abroad, as are the personal care products in the bathroom. They come from places as varied as Mexico, China, Taiwan, South Korea, and Germany. Nearly the only thing Trump sells from the United States is Trump Natural Spring Water, which comes from New England and is bottled in New York.

This hypocrisy is clearly nothing new, but in covering the signing of the executive order on Tuesday, CNN's Jake Tapper reported, “The president just signed an executive order to buy American." Then he pointed out, "So wait, does that mean that he wants me to stop buying Trump products?” Media Matters posted a video of the segment online:

President Trump ordering the U.S. government to buy America, buy American and hire American but should the president be looking into his own company's business practices first?

The answer would clearly be "yes," but that doesn't mean he will. Trump said on Tuesday at Snap-On Tools what he thinks the order will do. "The buy and hire American order I'm about to sign will protect workers and students like you," Trump said. "It's America first, you better believe it. It's time. It's time, right?" He also dissed the World Trade Association and the NAFTA free trade agreement.

But even if you believe these "Buy American, Hire American" goals will help the economy, the executive order has been criticized for the little influence it will have. Media Matters, in a separate article, also pointed out that the order only calls for a review of current policy and doesn't necessarily change anything without Congress' approval.

That sounds a lot like Trump. He's talking up the issue, but he doesn't put his money where his mouth is with his own brand — nor with real change in policy, either.