Trump: Don’t buy crap made in China … unless it’s mine

Posted on April 29, 2011

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Donald Trump bashed Barack Obama for holding a state dinner at the White House to honor Chinese dissidents, saying, “You don’t give dinners to the enemy!” Right. You give your entire clothing manufacturing business to the enemy, like Donald Trump does. It seems the king of self-promotion is also the king of hypocrisy because every thread of his “signature series” mens’ suit and clothing line is … (shocked gasps of disbelief) … made in China.

Trump promises that wearing his clothing line will provide “the pinnacle of style and sophistication” and “the necessities to be boardroom ready all of the time.” Just make sure that boardroom isn’t full of unemployed American textile workers and you’ll be fine.

That dress shirt in the photo, by the way, the one with the 100% MADE IN CHINA tag on it, retails for $69.50).  But don’t go thinking that Trump only has sweatshops in China.  His ties are  made in Mexico (retail $49.99), and the dress socks are made in Bangladesh (retail $24.50 a pair). His monogrammed handkerchiefs are made in Vietnam. In fact, there isn’t one single piece of clothing with Trump’s name on it that is made in America. Not one. And that fancy silk-like box the clothes come in?  It’s made in Indonesia.

Is that good business sense – capitalizing on pennies-per-hour sweatshop labor? Sure, whatever cuts the bottom line. But you can’t be a purveyor of sweatshops and condemn the use of sweatshops at the same time. That’s called hypocrisy, and it’s one of Trump’s defining characteristics. Trump repeatedly stamps his fist on any podium he can stand behind and demands that Americans buy less “cheap crap” from China. But buy his expensive crap from China.

Trump is angling – or at least hinting very heavily – that he intends to run for the presidency. It would be fascinating to watch if he actually made it to the White House, declared financial or military war against China, and then found some creative loophole to let him continue to operate his sweatshops there – all while conveniently ignoring the grotesque conflict of interest his business ventures represent. And the “Made in China” label isn’t new. Trump’s manufacturing operations were moved to China back in 1992, and have been there ever since.

Now, I’m sure that his blindly devout followers — “Ducks” as I call them, because of their uncanny willingness to avoid any legitimate question about Trump’s presidential qualifications or solutions — will have no issue with this do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do, any more than they had issue with Trump demanding to see Obama’s birth certificate and then producing a fake one of his own to show “how easy it is to do.” But that’s beside the point.

Trump has set himself up in recent years as the nation’s foremost China basher, going after the Asian superpower for intentionally devaluing its currency and for stealing American manufacturing and jobs. So it’s at the very least ironic that Trump outsourced 100 percent of his clothing line manufacturing to China. Trump has long complained about Chinese currency “manipulation” and has called for a large tariff on imports of products from China in order to bolster U.S. manufacturing. But he has also gone further, urging Americans to buy fewer products from China, claiming that Chinese goods are shoddy, poorly made and simply inferior to American-made products.  Trump also insists that, in his own business dealings, he favors American manufacturing over Chinese manufacturing.

So he’s either a liar, a blatant hypocrite, a shameless opportunist, a dismally short-sighted politician, or a moron.  I have long suspected that it’s all of the above.

How shamelessly two-faced is Trump? Here’s what he said on CNN a year ago about the difference between American and Chinese products: “American manufacturers actually make a much better product. I mean, the product is 100 percent better,” Trump said. “The product, the stuff that’s been sent over from China is — it falls apart after a year and a half. It’s crap. It just isn’t a smart business decision to manufacture in China because the quality of their merchandise is sub-standard. When it comes to manufacturing, all of these products could be made in North Carolina, or Alabama, or lots of our places. And right now they’re not. Personally, I’d tax China very, very heavily. And anyone who moves manufacturing jobs out of the United States, I’d tax them heavily, too.”

I’m guessing that Trump shouldn’t count on much campaign support from Nike, or Wal-Mart, or General Electric, or General Motors, or Converse, or Whirlpool, or Kodak, or IBM, or Dell, or Apple, or …

Last week, addressing his first TEA Party rally, Trump said, ““You can’t have China taking our jobs, taking our money, making our products. And the amazing thing, then they do all of this and then they loan us money and we pay them interest. And what do they do? They manipulate our currency. Now I know how to stop it. And it has to stop. We’ve got to climb out of the bed that our last several presidents have put us into with China.”

So Trump doesn’t consider himself one of China’s bedfellows. I guess they just do it standing up in a Macy’s dressing room and hope the clerk doesn’t catch them.

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