White House issues corporate press release on Exxon Mobil’s behalf.

White House Issues Corporate Press Release on Behalf of Exxon Mobil

White House Issues Corporate Press Release on Behalf of Exxon Mobil

The Slatest
Your News Companion
March 6 2017 5:53 PM

White House Issues Corporate Press Release on Behalf of Exxon Mobil

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President Trump shakes hands with Rex Tillerson after Tillerson was sworn in as secretary of state, as Tillerson’s wife, Renda St. Clair, looks on.

Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

A few things that happened Monday:

  1. Former Exxon Mobil chairman and CEO—and current secretary of state—Rex Tillerson was scheduled to meet with President Trump in Washington at 1:35 p.m. EST, according to a schedule provided to reporters.
  2. Current Exxon Mobil chairman and CEO Darren Woods used a keynote address at an energy conference in Houston to tout his company’s Growing the Gulf initiative, described as a $20 billion investment in nearly a dozen projects in Louisiana and Texas. According to the conference agenda, Woods took the stage between 3:10 p.m. EST and 3:40 p.m. EST.*
  3. Exxon Mobil issued a 400-odd-word press release about its Gulf Coast initiative at 3:10 p.m. EST.
  4. The White House issued a 350-odd-word press release congratulating the company on its announcement—and touting it as an evidence of the president delivering on his “promise to bring back jobs to America.” That statement went out at 3:43 p.m. EST and Trump then tweeted it out at 4:19 p.m.
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The two statements had plenty more in common than simply the topic.

A snippet from the Exxon release:

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.

And one from the White House release:

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.

As you can see, with the exception of a couple style issues (ExxonMobil becomes Exxon Mobil, and U.S. Gulf Coast becomes United States Gulf Coast) and one missing word (expansion), those two paragraphs mirror each other verbatim. Perhaps most important, however, is the last line shared by both: “Investments began in 2013 and are expected to continue through at least 2022.” In other words, the domestic investment the White House claims is evidence of Trump delivering on his campaign promises actually began under President Obama.

*Correction, March 6, 2017, at 6:01 p.m.: An earlier version of this post misstated the time Woods was scheduled to give his keynote address.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.