Trump says Exxon expansion program reflects his jobs campaign promise, but plan was hatched in 2013

"Buy American & hire American are ... at the core of my agenda," he tweeted.

ByABC News
March 7, 2017, 2:24 AM

— -- ExxonMobil announced Monday that it plans to spend $20 billion over 10 years on 11 plants along the Gulf Coast, resulting in the creation of 45,000 jobs — an initiative that the White House said illustrates his "promise to bring back jobs to America."

In separate statements released Monday, ExxonMobil and the White House said the Growing the Gulf expansion program "consists of 11 major chemical, refining, lubricant and liquefied natural gas projects at proposed new and existing facilities along the Texas and Louisiana coasts."

Since ExxonMobil released its statement first, some questioned the White House's use of nearly identical language in its statement. But a White House official told ABC News, "the expansion program has many different components to it, and we went straight to the source for some of our information."

Of the jobs ExxonMobil said will be created by the projects, chairman and CEO Darren Woods said, "Many of these are high-skilled, high-paying jobs, averaging about $100,000 a year. And these jobs will have a multiplier effect, creating many more jobs in the communities that service these new investments."

In its statement, the White House linked the expansion program to the Trump administration. "President Trump made a promise to bring back jobs to America," reads the statement. "The spirit of optimism sweeping the country is already boosting job growth, and it is only the beginning."

Trump said in the statement, "This is exactly the kind of investment, economic development and job creation that will help put Americans back to work. Many of the products that will be manufactured here in the United States by American workers will be exported to other countries, improving our balance of trade. This is a true American success story."

And he wrote a series of tweets about the announcement. One read, "Buy American & hire American are the principles at the core of my agenda, which is: JOBS, JOBS, JOBS! Thank you @exxonmobil."

Trump also tweeted a video in which he praises "the great company ExxonMobil" for its expansion plan.

But the expansion plan was hatched long before Trump entered the White House: Investments began in 2013, during Barack Obama's presidency, and are expected to continue through at least 2022, according to ExxonMobil.

Still, during a keynote speech Monday at an oil and gas industry conference in Houston, Woods gave credit to the Trump administration.

"Investments of this scale require a pro-growth approach and a stable regulatory environment, and we appreciate the president's commitment to both," Woods said. "The energy industry has proven it can operate safely and responsibly. Private sector investment is enhanced by this administration's support for smart regulations that support growth while protecting the environment."

According to The Associated Press, ExxonMobil's $20 billion in planned spending is roughly equal to the company's total capital spending last year. ExxonMobil announced last week that it plans to increase overall investments to an average of $25 billion a year from 2018 to 2020.

In December, Trump chose ExxonMobil's then-CEO, Rex Tillerson, to be his secretary of state. The two met Monday shortly before the ExxonMobil and White House press releases were issued.

ABC News' Alexander Mallin contributed to this report.

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