Ford’s relationship with President Donald Trump had a rocky start.
When Trump announced his presidency June 2015, he attacked Ford’s plan to build a manufacturing plant in Mexico, using it as a jumping-off point to discuss how he would crack down on companies for moving jobs out of the US by building plants abroad.
It was that attack that prompted Ford’s first correspondence with the President.
“I got a hold of his email and I wrote him a note and said ‘congratulations on running for president’ and gave him some facts,” Fields said during a recent visit to Business Insider’s headquarters.
Trump, for his part, wrote back with a handwritten note, Fields said.
That’s because Trump is known to use email on a very limited basis. His aides handle his online presence for him and, despite being an avid Twitter user, Trump usually dictates them to a communications director who then has aides handle them.
Still, Trump had quite the war-with-words with Ford for a while after he announced his presidential bid.
In November, Trump incorrectly took credit for Ford keeping a manufacturing plant in the US instead of moving it to Mexico.
But Ford said it had never been planning to move its Louisville plant there, but shift production of one of its vehicles from Louisville to Mexico. That move wouldn’t have resulted in any job cuts, Ford said at the time.
“We were just always coming back with the facts because that’s what you do as a company, you set the record straight,” Fields said of his correspondence with Trump at the time.
The relationship between Ford and Trump seems to have strengthened since then. Fields attended two meetings at the White House about US manufacturing and is also a part of the President’s Manufacturing Jobs Initiative board.
“I’m really glad we now have a productive relationship and he’s prioritised manufacturing and automotive,” Fields said.