Donald Trump, who lost the popular vote in the presidential election by more than two million votes, took to Twitter to insult a union president who had fact-checked the number of jobs Trump claimed to save in his infamous Carrier deal. The union president has been receiving threats as a result.
Chuck Jones, who is president of United Steelworkers Local 1999, had been doing interviews with outlets such as CNN, MSNBC and CNBC, commenting on Trump’s deal with United Technologies, the parent company for the heating and air conditioning manufacturer Carrier. Trump’s deal gave United Technologies $7 million in tax breaks and sent 550 jobs to Mexico. Trump claimed that in turn, Carrier would keep 1100 jobs in Illinois. As Jones correctly pointed out, the number of jobs saved was 800, about 300 fewer than what Trump claimed. Jones speculated that Trump was taking credit for jobs that were never actually in danger of being relocated to Mexico.
In response to Jones talking about facts and numbers, Trump insulted Jones on Twitter:
And then an hour later, presumably after ruminating some more on Jones' comments and being unable to emotionally process any sort of rebuke, Trump tweeted:
30 minutes after Trump’s tweets went out, Jones began to receive anonymous phone calls. Speaking to the Washington Post, Jones said the calls he received were “People saying ‘We know you’ve got children. We know where you live. We know what kind of car you drive.’” Other calls were “people calling [Jones] a bunch of bad names on the phone.” Jones said that he’s dealt with worse threats during his 30-year career, though. “It is what it is,” he said. “But it’s not a major deal. I’m not concerned about it. I ain’t got the authorities involved nor do I plan on it.”
Jones also said that he was “very grateful for [Trump’s] involvement in keeping … 800 jobs remaining here in this city,” but that Trump’s use of a false number caused workers to believe they were going to keep their jobs. “There was people throughout the plant that were still going by his numbers,” he said, “and we had to tell them the next day, ‘No, the numbers aren’t correct.’” Jones said that for those who lost their jobs, “You’ve had your emotions up and down like a rollercoaster, they’re not too happy.”
The United Steelworkers came to Jones’ defense, tweeting, “Chuck is a hero not a scapegoat,” and that Jones has been working “since day 1 to save ALL jobs there.” It seems Jones just wants to get back to work. “[Trump] needs to worry about getting his Cabinet filled,” he said, “and leave me the hell alone.”