INDIANAPOLIS, (Reuters) – U.S. President-elect Donald Trump visited a factory in Indiana on Thursday to kick off a “thank you tour” for his election win and celebrate persuading air conditioner maker Carrier Corp to preserve around 1,000 jobs in the state rather than move them to Mexico.
The Republican businessman toured the plant in Indianapolis and shook hands with workers on an assembly line. He was due to make remarks there later in the day.
In an early victory for Trump before he takes office on Jan. 20, Carrier said this week it agreed to keep more than 1,000 jobs at the plant and at its headquarters, while still planning to move more than 1,000 other U.S. jobs to Mexico.
Trump made keeping jobs in the United States one of the main issues of his election campaign and frequently pilloried Carrier for planning to ship jobs overseas as he appealed to blue-collar workers in the Midwest.
Though the company is still outsourcing Indiana jobs to Mexico, the deal marks a quick win for Trump, who has spent most of his time since the Nov. 8 election in New York building his team ahead of the handover of power from President Barack Obama.
Carrier confirmed that Indiana agreed to give the company $7 million in tax incentives. A source briefed on the matter said the tax incentives are over 10 years and the company has agreed to invest $16 million in the state, which is run by Governor Mike Pence, Trump’s vice president-elect.
Trump spokesman Jason Miller told reporters the Carrier deal is proof that “this administration is going to make good on our promises to keep jobs here in America.”
But Carrier, a unit of United Technologies Corp, still plans to move 600 jobs from the plant to Mexico, the Wall Street Journal said. Reuters reported earlier this week Carrier also still intends to close a factory in Huntington, Indiana, that employs 700 people making controls for heating, cooling and refrigeration and move the jobs to Mexico by 2018.
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, who lost the Democratic primary to Clinton, said the Carrier deal is incomplete and leaves the incoming Trump administration open to threats from companies.
“Trump has endangered the jobs of workers who were previously safe in the United States. Why? Because he has signaled to every corporation in America that they can threaten to offshore jobs in exchange for business-friendly tax benefits and incentives,” Sanders wrote in a Washington Post opinion piece on Thursday.
He noted that Trump had originally said he would save 2,100 jobs that Carrier planned to move to Mexico.
“Let’s be clear: It is not good enough to save some of these jobs,” Sanders said.
Despite Trump’s deal, employers elsewhere in Indiana are laying off five times that many workers because of foreign competition.
Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim said on Thursday that if Trump succeeds as U.S. president, it would benefit major trading partner Mexico because of increased employment and U.S. economic growth.
Trump was due to hold a rally in Cincinnati, Ohio, later on Thursday and address supporters who helped him win that swing state in his stunning victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
The Indiana and Ohio stops will be Trump’s first public events since he won the presidency.
At the Cincinnati event, Trump and Pence will talk about what is ahead and the “positive change” Trump will bring to the country, spokesman Miller said.
Trump’s Cincinnati rally looks like it will echoes the raucous events that characterized his campaign, in which he railed against Washington insiders and Wall Street and vowed to “drain the swamp.”
But now Trump is turning to establishment figures to fill critical positions in his administration.
On Wednesday, Trump said he would nominate former Goldman Sachs banker Steven Mnuchin, to lead the Treasury Department. Trump named Wilbur Ross, a billionaire known for his investments in distressed industries, as his nominee for commerce secretary.
The Trump team has also tapped a series of experienced Washington hands to oversee the transfer of power within government departments and agencies.
The real estate mogul and former television celebrity, who has never before held elected office, has named some members of his Cabinet but has many other jobs to fill.
The Cincinnati rally follows a car and knife attack this week by a Somali immigrant and Muslim student, Abdul Razak Ali Artan, at Ohio State University in Columbus that left 11 people injured, for which Islamic State claimed responsibility.
In a Twitter message, Trump said, “ISIS is taking credit for the terrible stabbing attack at Ohio State University by a Somali refugee who should not have been in our country.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations accused Trump of seeking to exploit the “tragic situation in Ohio.”
(Additional reporting by Steve Holland and David Shepardson. Writing by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Alistair Bell)
IMAGE: U.S. President-elect Donald Trump greets a worker as he tours a Carrier factory with Greg Hayes, CEO of United Technologies (L) in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S., December 1, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar