Glen Dale, W. Va. — Bad news travels fast. Good news, meanwhile, doesn’t seem to travel at all.
Last weekend in Beijing, as part of his 12-day trip to Asia, President Trump announced that the US and China had signed an $83.7 billion memorandum of understanding to create a number of petrochemical projects in West Virginia over the next 20 years.
If the agreement holds tight, it is an economic game changer for the state.
And yet, speaking to the locals here, you wouldn’t even know it had happened.
“I am surprised I heard nothing about it on the national news, nor in my local paper and newscasts,” said Jerald Stephens, 67, a West Virginia native and union rep, who has been a keen observer of local politics for as long as he can remember.
The BBC and CNN covered the news in their business sections, while The New York Times picked up a short story by The Associated Press on the deal. The stories’ headlines were muted; their placement low-key.
“One would have suspected that the prospect of an investment this large — nearly three times the total annual budget for the department of energy — would have been front-page news,” said Paul Sracic, political-science professor at nearby Youngstown State University.
Part of this is the fault of the president himself. He never once tweeted about his deal to his 42.8 million followers, but instead used Twitter to attack old foes on his trip, including the media (“While in the Philippines I was forced to watch @CNN, which I have not done in months, and again realized how bad, and FAKE, it is. Loser!”) and the leader of North Korea (“Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me ‘old,’ when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat?’ Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend — and maybe someday that will happen!”).
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