Trump says he personally urged Elon Musk to build Tesla’s new $1 billion factory in Texas

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Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and President Donald Trump in 2018. Evan Vucci / AP

On an investor call Wednesday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced Tesla’s second major car production facility in the US would be built in Austin, Texas.

On Thursday night, President Trump took credit for the move in a Fox News interview.

“I was with Elon Musk,” Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity. “I said, ‘Elon, build a factory in Texas.’ He just announced today they’re building one of the biggest plants in the world – auto plants for Tesla. And it is going to be in Texas.”

Trump said as much while discussing his longstanding goal to increase US manufacturing.

“We’re gonna make things here. We’re gonna make them here,” Trump said. “Right now, China and many other countries are doing what we’re supposed to be doing. They became globalists. These great geniuses became globalists, and they really hurt our country. We’re gonna start making it here.”

And Trump cited Tesla’s newly-announced Texas plant as an example of a success in that regard.

“He [Elon Musk] called me up just a little while ago to say, ‘I got it done.'” Trump said. “So, meaning he got it done, but I was pushing that job very hard for Elon because we work with him and we do a lot for him. And I said, ‘It’s time,’ and he was great, he’s doing a good job.”

Trump doubled down on statements from the interview using Twitter on Friday morning. “Great job by @elonmusk in agreeing to build, in TEXAS, what is expected to be the largest auto plant anywhere in the world,” Trump said. “He kept his word to me. Texas & @Tesla are big winners. MADE IN THE USA!”

Other than Texas, Tesla considered Oklahoma as the location for its new $US1 billion factory. Ultimately, Texas won out with an offer that included over $US65 million in tax rebates over 10 years. The new factory, Tesla says, will hire 5,000 new employees.

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