In the days before Tuesday's seminal Indiana primary, Republican front-runner Donald Trump has made a promise to voters and workers in the Hoosier State that doubles down on his general messaging so far. If he is president, he said, he will make sure Carrier Corp. — an industrial equipment manufacturer that provides more than 1,400 jobs in the state — will stay in Indiana in spite of stated plans to move jobs out of the country.
“Here's what's going to happen,” Trump said Wednesday in Indianapolis, according to the Associated Press. “They’re going to call me, and they are going to say, ‘Mr. President, Carrier has decided to stay in Indiana.’”
“One hundred percent — that’s what is going to happen,” he went on. “It’s not like we have an 80 percent chance of keeping them or a 95 percent. One hundred percent.”
But some voters and critics in the state say the billionaire’s promise, which fits in nicely with his protectionism brand, is little more than bluster. Democrats like Jennifer Foxworthy, who manages an Indianapolis logistics company, noted that presidents just don’t have the necessary tool sets to influence those sorts of decisions. Presidents have little authority to target specific companies or jobs.
“He’s just not on planet Earth,” Foxworthy told the AP. “He can’t make an executive decision for everything he believes in.”
Carrier announced the decision to close its Indiana plants and move those jobs to Mexico in February when a video showing an unidentified company official discussing the move was posted online and on local TV news reports.
Trump quickly pounced on the issue after the announcement and began incorporating it into his rallies across the country. His plan is to place 35 percent tariffs on Carrier air-conditioning units and goods coming into the U.S. from Mexico. That position may be resonating with GOP voters in the state: As the primary in the state approaches, Trump has maintained a growing lead and currently polls 7.8 percent ahead of his closest rival, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, with 41.6 percent of Hoosier State polling in an average of five recent polls compiled by RealClearPolitics.