Trump to NYT: 'I'm the one that saved coal'

President Donald Trump gives a thumbs up during a 2016 election campaign stop in Huntington. Trump vowed to jump-start the coal industry during that visit. (CNN)

In an interview with The New York Times Thursday, President Donald Trump claims he saved coal and West Virginia is “doing fantastically well.”

Trump spoke with Michael S. Schmidt and Michael D. Shear of The New York Times during an impromptu 30-minute interview Thursday at his golf club in West Palm Beach.

In an excerpt from the interview, Trump is quoted saying, “I’m the one that saved coal,” after he called out U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

In the article, the president is quoted saying he “likes Joe,” referring to Manchin. Trump brought up Manchin when referring to his frustrations with Democrats and the tax bill.

“He talks. But he doesn’t do anything. He doesn’t do,” Trump told The New York Times in an excerpt from the interview.

Trump told the Times that West Virginia’s gross domestic product is the biggest turnaround after Texas.

In a November story in The Washington Post, the Post cited a report by the Bureau of Economic Analysis that says mining grew 21.6 percent across the country in the first quarter of 2017. It said mining was the leading contributor to growth in several states, including West Virginia, which grew 3 percent, but it said there are several factors that make it tough for Trump to take credit for the success.

During Trump’s campaign stop in Huntington in May 2016, he vowed to jump-start the coal industry.

"If I win, we're going to bring those miners back, and you're going to be so proud of your president," he said.

In an August 2017 rally in Huntington where West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced his party change, the president said he has kept his promise to bring coal mining back, ending the war on coal and the unreasonable regulations of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He said at the rally that coal exports in the United States are up 60 percent this year.

“I love your coal miners and they are coming back strong,” Trump said.

Justice told reporters in an Aug. 4 news conference that he had spoken with the Trump administration about the possibility of creating a homeland security incentive that would encourage eastern power plants to purchase more coal produced in Appalachia. Justice said the incentive would bring tens and tens of thousands of jobs to West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.

Justice told reporters ensuring coal production in Appalachia is essential to homeland security. If coal dries up there, Justice said, energy in the United States would be dependent on gas and western coal.

Read the full New York Times article.

Read the excerpt from The New York Times interview.

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