- Rebecca Cook/Reuters
Ford’s relationship with President Donald Trump had a rocky start.
When Trump announced his candidacy for president in 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 that moved jobs out of the US by building plants abroad.
It was that attack that prompted Ford’s first correspondence with Trump.
“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,” Ford CEO Mark Fields said during a recent visit to Business Insider’s headquarters.
Trump sent a handwritten note back, Fields said.
That’s because Trump is known to use email on a very limited basis. His aides often handle his online presence for him – for example, The Washington Post reported in July 2015 that despite being an avid Twitter user, Trump usually dictates them to a communications director, who then has aides post them.
Still, Trump had a war of words with Ford for a while.
In November, Trump incorrectly credited himself with persuading Ford to keep a manufacturing plant in the US instead of moving it to Mexico.
Ford said it had never planned to move its Louisville, Kentucky, plant there, but rather 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 this month at the White House about US manufacturing, and he’s part of the president’s Manufacturing Jobs Initiative.
“I’m really glad we now have a productive relationship and he’s prioritized manufacturing and automotive,” Fields said.