As if the ties between the Trump administration and oil and gas behemoth ExxonMobil weren't apparent enough, the White House on Monday issued a press release that lifted text wholesale from an Exxon press release published earlier that same day.
The Exxon release touted plans for expanded fossil fuel projects in the Gulf of Mexico, which the company itself described as "11 major chemical, refining, lubricant, and liquefied natural gas projects at proposed new and existing facilities along the Texas and Louisiana coasts." (Despite repeated accidents and spills in the Gulf of Mexico—including the catastrophic BP oil spill in 2010—fossil fuel companies have continued to exploit the Gulf.)
In fact, Exxon's new investments began in 2013, but that didn't stop the White House from giving credit to President Donald Trump for what Trump himself described as "JOBS, JOBS, JOBS" on Twitter. In doing so, the White House simply copied most of the Exxon release verbatim.
Below are nearly identical excerpts from the two releases:
Further demonstrating the cozy relationship between the White House and Exxon, former Exxon CEO and current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Trump mere hours before the White House bragged about the oil company's investments, as Mother Jones' Rebecca Leber reported.
1:35 pm Trump/Tillerson scheduled to have lunch
3:43 pm @realDonaldTrump issues statement congratulating Exxon Mobil on $20 billion program
— Felicia Schwartz (@felschwartz) March 6, 2017
"Exxon has a lot to be pleased with so far in Trump's term," Leber noted. "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."
Moreover, Politico's Ben Lefebvre observed that the "strategy of CEOs re-announcing old investments in the Trump era is not new. Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son announced after a December meeting with Trump a tech fund that would invest $50 billion in the U.S. Trump publicized Son's plan despite the fact that the investment had been part of a previously announced plan."
Lefebvre also reported that the State Department has not confirmed whether or not Tillerson has liquidated his Exxon stock.