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Talking Points

Trump’s shoutout to Bob Kraft raises questions

President Trump told the world Friday that Kraft called him Thursday to talk up the $1.5 trillion tax cut that Republicans whisked to Trump’s desk. Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press

The GOP tax overall is so incredible for business owners and the economy, Patriots owner Robert Kraft is building a factory in North Carolina. It’s going to be a beautiful thing!

That’s at least the story President Trump is selling.

Trump told the world Friday that Kraft, whose family firm owns Rand-Whitney along with other paper and packaging businesses, called him Thursday to talk up the $1.5 trillion tax cut that Republicans whisked to Trump’s desk. Because of the bill, Trump said, his buddy in Foxborough is going to buy “a big plant” in North Carolina and will build a “paper products plant” there.


The statement raised more questions than it answers. Is Kraft buying an existing plant, or building from the ground up? How big will it be?

Then there’s the more important question: Would Kraft do this anyway — assuming this project is as real as the president says it is — without a reduced corporate tax?

Unfortunately, the Kraft Group offered little clarity on the matter. A spokesman confirmed that Kraft and Trump spoke, and that Kraft believes the bill will spur corporate America to make significant capital investments.

But is a Kraft affiliate building another one in the Tar Heel State? The Kraft spokesman wouldn’t say. A spokesman for that state’s economic development office was similarly elusive.

The bill’s proponents say the tax cut will prompt companies to plow cash into their US workforces and facilities. Critics downplay the benefits, saying capital spending will be constrained by rising interest rates. The true impact, like the fate of this mystery plant, remains to be seen.

Jon Chesto can be reached at jon.chesto@globe.com and on Twitter @jonchesto.