What Did Donald Trump Promise the President of Softbank?

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Masayoshi Son, the president of Softbank and owner of Sprint, met with Donald Trump this afternoon and then announced that he planned to invest $50 billion in the United States over the next five years. Trump tweeted that “Masa said he would never do this had we (Trump) not won the election!”

Maybe so. But is this because Trump has promised to supercharge the economy and get rid of pesky, growth-killing regulations? Or is it, perhaps, because Trump promised to get rid of one particular pesky regulation? Here’s the Wall Street Journal:

When he acquired Sprint, Mr. Son’s initial plan was to merge the carrier with German-owned T-Mobile US Inc. to take on market leaders AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc., but he abandoned the effort after regulators signaled they would reject the plan. Some investors and analysts have said he could make another attempt after Mr. Trump’s election and when a new chairman is appointed to the Federal Communications Commission.

Mr. Son planned to tell Mr. Trump about what happened with T-Mobile, and how he had wanted to invest in the U.S. but the regulatory climate was too harsh so he invested outside the U.S. instead, the person familiar with the matter said.

It’s true: Obama regulators killed Sprint’s planned acquisition of T-Mobile on antitrust grounds. This is undoubtedly the “harsh” regulatory climate that bothered Son. So perhaps Trump agreed that if Son takes another run at T-Mobile, his administration would be happy to make sure the merger gets a big ol’ green light. The stock market certainly seemed to think this was likely. Within a few minutes of Trump’s tweet, Sprint stock shot up 6 percent and T-Mobile rose 2 percent.

In the same Journal article, we also get this:

AT&T Inc. Chief Executive Randall Stephenson also spoke positively of the economic benefits of a Trump presidency Tuesday….He expressed hope that “a more moderate approach to some of these regulations is in the making under a Trump administration.” Mr. Stephenson said the U.S. is the “highest tax country in the developed world” and that capital investment, as a percentage of gross domestic product, is at its lowest level since World War II.

The business community is certainly sucking up to Trump these days, aren’t they? They’re apparently also developing a taste for his casual relationship with the truth. Here are two parting charts, presented without comment.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest