To reassert the progress of their controversial Wisconsin project, Foxconn founder and Taiwanese presidential hopeful, Terry Gou, visited the Whitehouse.
There, Gou met with President Trump to demonstrate that, despite Foxconn’s shifting plans and inconsistent communication, it will still come through. He also brought baseball caps sporting both the American and Taiwanese flags, and the embroidered phrase “Make America Great Again.” Trump reciprocated the gesture with a signed coaster, a pen, and comments on how being “president is a tough job.”
After the Whitehouse, Gou continued his U.S. trip to Milwaukee airport, where he met Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers. While Evers previously expressed doubts about whether Foxconn could meet its goals, his tone did turn more optimistic after the meeting.
But these meetings aside, Foxconn has yet to demonstrate its goodwill by following through on many aspects of the Wisconsin project. Even with the company’s adjusted agreement (instead of employing 10,000 people for the $4.5 billion subsidies, it only needs to hire 1,500), not much is getting done.
Foxconn’s Idling Wisconsin Building Project
As of now, Foxconn released no word on why the buildings it purchased for innovation centers still remain vacant.
Over three weeks have passed since The Verge initially reported their investigation on Foxconn’s buildings. Responding at that time, the company promised to submit an official correction as to why the innovation centers remained empty. However, despite Gou’s visits and assurances, Foxconn has yet to explain itself.
Furthermore, after demolishing roughly 75 homes, development of Foxconn’s factory in Mount Pleasant seems to have stalled entirely. This comes after the company invested $99 million into the factory, which is only one percent of the agreed amount. Because of this, locals are questioning Foxconn’s project all the more. In fact, last month the Mount Pleasant Village board voted to lease nearly one thousand acres of the land it originally acquired for Foxconn to be used instead for agriculture on a year-by-year basis.
Though after visiting Trump, Gou did tell media outlets that progress on the factory only stagnated due to the cold weather. However, it’s important to note that the state of Wisconsin continued building infrastructure for the factory all throughout that winter.
Trump’s Ongoing Support for Foxconn
President Trump’s backing of the Wisconsin project was strong at its announcement in 2017 and remains the same today.
Back then, he boasted how the deal would never have gone through “if I didn’t get elected” and went on to refer to the project as the “8th wonder of the world.” Though warning signs have undoubtedly shown themselves since, Trump doesn’t seem deterred.
However, with Foxconn’s project success being such a major part of the President’s platform, and the 2020 U.S. elections drawing nearer every day, how this project plays out will likely impact Trump’s image in a significant way.