It’s been one of President Trump’s favorite boasts since he took office: By his order, new oil and gas pipelines built in the U.S. will be made from American steel.
As is often the case, Trump has wrapped the claim into an anecdote he often repeats. Referring to his orders to revive the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipeline projects, Trump recalled last month that he interrupted the signing to ask, “Who makes those beautiful pipes for the pipeline?”
“Sir, they’re made outside of this country,” came the response.
“I said, ‘No more, no more.’ So we added a little clause — didn’t take much — that [if] you want to build pipelines in this country, you’re going to buy your steel, and you’re going to have it fabricated, here. Makes sense, right?”
The story has proved effective with Trump’s audiences, but it’s not an accurate description of what he did. It took the White House only a couple of weeks after the signing to acknowledge that the “Buy America” rule would not apply to Keystone. That would be unfair, officials said, because TransCanada, the company building the line, had long ago bought its pipe, some of it made in the U.S., and the rest in Canada, Italy and India.