The Washington Post defended President Trump on Monday, calling media reports that suggested that he was unaware Japan has long been building cars in the U.S.
Trump appeared with U.S. and Japanese business leaders Monday and made remarks that lit up social media as well as CNN and Slate.
“Try building your cars in the United States instead of shipping them over,” Trump said. “Is that possible to ask? That’s not rude. Is that rude? I don’t think so.”
CNN ran a fact-check article headlined, “Trump asks Japan to build cars in the U.S. It already does,” mocking the president for being unaware of the millions of cars Japan already builds in the U.S.
However, the Post wrote that this is “unfair” to Trump, as a complete look at his remarks reveals that he was praising Japanese car manufacturers for their job creation in the U.S.
The Post then highlighted Trump’s remarks to make their point.
Here’s the full context of Trump’s remarks to leaders of Toyota and Mazda (emphasis added):
When you want to build your auto plants, you will have your approvals almost immediately. When you want to expand your plants, you will have your approvals almost immediately. And in the room, we have a couple of the great folks from two of the biggest auto companies in the world that are building new plants and doing expansions of other plants. And you know who you are, and I want to just thank you very much. I want to thank you.
I also want to recognize the business leaders in the room whose confidence in the United States — they’ve been creating jobs — you have such confidence in the United States, and you’ve been creating jobs for our country for a long, long time. Several Japanese automobile industry firms have been really doing a job. And we love it when you build cars — if you’re a Japanese firm, we love it — try building your cars in the United States instead of shipping them over. Is that possible to ask? That’s not rude. Is that rude? I don’t think so. (Laughter.) If you could build them. But I must say, Toyota and Mazda — where are you? Are you here, anybody? Toyota? Mazda? I thought so. Oh, I thought that was you. That’s big stuff. Congratulations. Come on, let me shake your hand. (Applause.) They’re going to invest $1.6 billion in building a new manufacturing plant, which will create as many as 4,000 new jobs in the United States. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
CNN noted the following correction to its original story.
Correction: The original version of this article and its headline did not make clear that President Trump had praised Japanese automakers for expanding existing U.S. facilities and for making new investments in the U.S. The article and headline have been updated.
Slate has acknowledged The Post’s take but is standing firm with its accusation that Trump didn’t realize Japan builds cars in the U.S.