Donald Trump, who has repeatedly accused China of stealing manufacturing jobs from the U.S., acknowledged today that an array of Trump-branded clothes, accessories and other products are made in China.
The real estate and casino mogul, who is considering a run for the Republican presidential nomination, blamed China for the fact that Trump ties, Trump cufflinks and even Trump teddy bears come with a "Made in China" label.
"The answer is very simple: Because of the fact that China so manipulates their currency it makes it almost impossible for American companies to compete," Trump told ABC News.
"You see it with all of the items you are talking about. You also see it with building products. If it continues this way, America won't have any jobs, except for taking care of the elderly."
Asked if he ever looked at having his Trump products manufactured in the U.S., Trump said, "Always do. There are very few companies that do it because they can't compete with the manipulation."
Trump has made the flow of U.S. jobs overseas, especially to China, as much a centerpiece of his exploratory campaign for president as his questions about whether President Obama was born in America, saying, "The problem with our country is that we don't make anything anymore."
Trump hammered at China again Wednesday during a visit to New Hampshire. "China is raping this country," Trump told employees at Wilcox Industries, which makes tactical equipment for U.S. military forces.
"When this country became great was the industrial revolution," said Trump, a Republican. "We are now the opposite of the industrial revolution, and pretty soon we are going to fall off a cliff."
Donald Trump Gear Is Often Made in China
But visitors to the Trump Store in the lobby of the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York City, or to the displays of Trump clothing at Macy's in New York's Herald Square, would be hard-pressed to find much labeled "Made in the U.S.A."
At the same time Trump was speaking in New Hampshire, his Trump Store was contributing to the growth of Chinese manufacturing, arguably at the expense of American workers, selling $80 Trump-branded cotton sweaters and $70 Trump-branded warm-up tops, all made in China. Also available with the made in China tag: golf hats stamped with the Trump crest and stuffed animals.
Visitors also could buy leather made-in-China belts priced at $45 that are advertised as "So soft, it feels like a million bucks." And in the display case were neat stacks of colorful Trump-branded polo shirts that would be perfect wear for one of Trump's golf courses. The shirts, which sell for $70, were not made in China, but nearby, in Korea and Thailand.
Among the few items made in the U.S.A.: Trump chocolate bars, books, teas and Christmas tree ornaments, priced at $15 each.
As first reported by Salon.com, the Trump wear sold in Macy's, part of the Donald J. Trump Signature Collection, is manufactured overseas, including ties in more than 50 different styles and colors (all made in China), suits (made in Mexico and Vietnam), and dress shirts (five styles made in China).
All the Trump tie pins ($22) and tie clips ($28) are labeled as "Made in China," as are the cufflinks ($35 to $45 a pair) and even the boxes containing them.
Although many Chinese-made products are sold under the Trump name, Trump repeatedly has complained about the quality of Chinese-made goods as compared to American products. "Our companies make a better product, that's very important to know. We make a better product," he told a major gathering of conservative activists, the Conservative Political Action Conference, in Washington in February.
Trump argues that China's "currency manipulation" artificially depresses the cost of goods manufactured there, making it hard for American-based manufacturers to compete.
Adding to the outrage, in Trump's view, is that China is using its windfall to buy U.S. debt. He says the U.S. should slap heavy taxes on imported Chinese goods, to jack up their prices.
"Hey look, I know lots of folks in China, they think we are the dumbest son of a bitches in the world, all right?" he said earlier this year. "They are laughing at us behind our backs, taking money out and then they loan it to us."