The Keystone XL oil pipeline will not use American-produced steel during its construction despite President Donald Trump's insistence after signing the controversial directives back in January and referencing the move in his address to Congress, the White House confirmed on Friday.
White House spokesman Sarah Huckabee Sanders pointed to language in the presidential directive as to why the proposed cross-border pipeline is not subject to Trump's U.S.-made steel promise.
"The way that executive order is written," Sanders said. "It’s specific to new pipelines or those that are being repaired. Since this one is already currently under construction, the steel is already literally sitting there; it would be hard to go back."
The explanation seems to contradict Trump's wishes. Back in January, Trump signed a memorandum requiring the secretary of Commerce to devise a plan — due in six months — that would mandate American-made steel for all new, expanded or retrofitted pipelines in the U.S. At the time, Trump said the directive was "going to put a lot of workers, a lot of steelworkers, back to work."
In a speech at CPAC last month, Trump even hinted that he personally insisted on the buy-America idea himself.
"This took place while I was getting ready to sign," he told CPAC. "I said, 'Who makes the pipes for the pipeline?' Well, sir, it comes from all over the world, isn't that wonderful? I said, 'Nope, it comes from the United States or we're not building one.' American steel. If they want a pipeline in the United States, they're going to use pipe that's made in the United States, do we agree?"