Trump reiterates warning to US firms not to move overseas

White House denies reports National Guard to be called out to round up immigrants

 

US president Donald Trump has warned US companies they will face harsh financial penalties if they fire American workers and move manufacturing overseas as he pledged to act on his campaign promise to bring jobs back to the United States.

Speaking at the launch of the new Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner at the company’s plant in South Carolina on Friday, Mr Trump said US companies making a product abroad and selling it back to America without paying tax was “not going to happen any more.”

“I campaigned on the promise that I will do everything in my power to bring those jobs back into America. We wanted to make it much easier – it has to be much easier – to manufacture in our country and much harder to leave,” he said. “I don’t want companies leaving our country, making their product, selling it back, no tax, no nothing, firing everybody in our country . . . we’re not letting that happen any more folks, believe me.”    

Speaking to cheers at the plant in North Charleston, Mr Trump told the thousands of assembled workers: “Just like you built this incredible aeroplane behind me, we’re going to rebuild this country and ensure that every forgotten community has a bright future. The American workers will always win. Very shortly you will have a level playing field again.”

Asked about his battle with Boeing about the price of the presidential aircraft Air Force One, Mr Trump said the price was “still too high” but that he was negotiating with the aircraft maker.

Firefighting

Meanwhile, as the fallout from the president’s impromptu press conference on Thursday and alleged links between the Trump administration and the Kremlin continued, FBI director James Comey arrived on Capitol Hill to brief members of the senate intelligence committee privately about alleged contacts between Trump officials and Russia during the election campaign.

The White House also denied a report that it was preparing to deploy the National Guard to round up illegal immigrants, as part of its latest efforts to clamp down on illegal immigration.

The AP news agency cited an 11-page memo it described as a “draft document” which proposes the mobilisation of up to 100,000 national guards to round up illegal immigrants, many living near the US border with Mexico.

As Mr Trump’s cabinet nominees continued to face confirmation hearings in the senate, Scott Pruitt, a climate change sceptic, was confirmed to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

Mr Pruitt, a former attorney general of Oklahoma, was approved after an all-night session in the senate as Democrats sought to delay his appointment.

In the end, two democrats – Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota – voted in favour of his confirmation, with one Republican senator, Susan Collins opposing.

Fossil fuel contacts

His confirmation came hours after an Oklahoma court ordered him to publish thousands of emails showing his contact with oil and gas executives.

Mr Pruitt clashed with the EPA numerous times during his career as state attorney general for Oklahoma, suing the agency more than a dozen times, and criticising what he called “unwarranted regulation and systematic overreach” by Washington.

Mr Pruitt became the latest Trump nominee to be confirmed by the senate, following the confirmation of Steve Mnuchin as treasury secretary earlier this week and Mick Mulvaney as head of the office of budget and management.

The president was said to be still trying to convince retired vice-admiral Bob Harward to accept the post of national security adviser to replace Michael Flynn, after Mr Harward declined the post, though Mr Trump said on twitter that there were four people in contention for the job.

Mr Trump was forced to name a new nominee for labour secretary, Alexander Acosta, on Thursday following Andrew Puzder’s withdrawal from the process after a video emerged of his ex-wife accusing him of abuse on the Oprah Winfrey show.