This White House Statement Has Language That Is Nearly Identical to an Exxon Press Release

Hours after Trump met with Rex Tillerson, the president and the oil company pat each other on the back.

President Trump with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (right), the former CEO of Exxon MobilPool/Reuters via ZUMA Press


Hours after President Donald Trump was scheduled to have lunch with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Monday, the White House issued an unusual press release. Trump congratulated Exxon Mobil—the company Tillerson formerly led—on its announcement that it would be spending $20 billion on expanded investments in 11 Gulf Coast projects. The oil and gas giant claims the move will create 45,000 jobs.

As if the close ties between the White House and Exxon weren’t clear enough, one part of the White House statement contains language that is nearly identical to language in Exxon’s press release.

Here are excerpts from the two releases, with the identical wording bolded. First, the White House document, which was emailed to reporters at 3:43 p.m.:

Exxon Mobil is strategically investing in new refining and chemical-manufacturing projects in the United States Gulf Coast region to expand its manufacturing and export capacity. The company’s Growing the Gulf 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. Investments began in 2013 and are expected to continue through at least 2022.

Exxon Mobil’s projects, once completed and operating at mature levels, are expected to have far-reaching and long-lasting benefits. Projects planned or under way are expected to create more than 35,000 construction jobs and more than 12,000 full-time jobs. These are full-time manufacturing jobs that are mostly high-skilled and high-paying, and have annual salaries ranging from $75,000 to $125,000. These jobs will have a multiplier effect, creating many more jobs in the community that service these new investments.

And this is from the Exxon release, which was posted on the company’s website at 3:10 p.m.:

ExxonMobil is strategically investing in new refining and chemical-manufacturing projects in the U.S. Gulf Coast region to expand its manufacturing and export capacity. The company’s 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. Investments began in 2013 and are expected to continue through at least 2022.

Woods said that ExxonMobil’s Gulf expansion projects are expected to provide long-term economic benefits to the region, noting the creation of direct employment opportunities and the multiplier effects of the company’s investments.

“Importantly, Growing the Gulf also creates jobs and lasting economic benefits for the communities where they’re located,” Woods said. “All told, we expect these 11 projects to create over 45,000 jobs. 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.

The White House statement also highlights effusive praise for Trump from Darren Woods, who is Tillerson’s successor as Exxon CEO. “Investments of this scale require a pro-growth approach and a stable regulatory environment and we appreciate the President’s commitment to both,” said Woods in a speech in Houston Monday, according to the White House document. “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.”

Exxon has a lot to be pleased with so far in Trump’s term. In addition to seeing Tillerson become the nation’s top diplomat, the company scored an important victory when Trump signed a bill overturning an Obama-era rule requiring it to disclose payments to foreign governments. And last week, the Environmental Protection Agency withdrew a rule that would require oil and gas companies to report their methane emissions.

Trump is framing Exxon’s announcement as a win for jobs:

I’ve contacted the White House and Exxon Mobil to ask if Tillerson was involved in this announcement and will update if they respond.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate