Donald Trump
US President-Elect Donald Trump speaks at an event at Carrier HVAC plant in Indianapolis, Indiana, US 1 December 2016. REUTERS/Chris Bergin

President-elect Donald Trump took to Twitter Wednesday (7 December) night to lash out at the Carrier Air Conditioning union president over criticism of an earlier deal to keep hundreds of jobs from being moved to Mexico. Trump's remarks came only minutes after United Steelworkers 1999's Chuck Jones appeared on CNN.

"Chuck Jones, who is President of United Steelworkers 1999, has done a terrible job representing workers. No wonder companies flee country!" the president-elect tweeted. Jones reiterated his criticisms that appeared in The Washington Post that said Trump "for whatever reason, lied his ass off."

Trump has claimed that the deal has kept more than 1,100 Carrier jobs from moving from Indiana to Mexico. The president-elect followed his first tweet with further criticism aimed at the union leader. "If United Steelworkers 1999 was any good, they would have kept those jobs in Indiana. Spend more time working-less time talking. Reduce dues," he tweeted.

During his interview with CNN's Erin Burnet, Jones said that many of the jobs included in the 1,100 being talked about by Trump were not being diverted to Mexico in the first place, BuzzFeed News reported. "What they're doing, they're counting in 350 odd more that were never leaving this country at all," Jones said. "If you're dealing with people's livelihoods, you sure as hell ought to know what the numbers are."

Jones said that while he is thankful for the possible impact Trump may have had on keeping some of the jobs in the US, he noted the number was misleading and gave false hope to workers at the plant.

"They went through a let down period when the company announced a close down," he said. "Then all of a sudden this enters in and you hear better than 1,100 jobs retained in Indianapolis, so those folks probably had to think, 'OK, I'm keeping my job.' Only to find out last Friday, well, no. There's 550 being laid off now that wasn't mentioned by anybody."

Burnet noted that Carrier also touted the 1,100 numbers and asked if it was perhaps the company's fault and not Trump's. Jones replied, "He ought to know by now."

According to BuzzFeed News, in a subsequent interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Jones pushed back against the president-elect's tweet. "People got false hopes they were going to be able to provide for their families," Jones said.

Trump 'petty, thin-skinned and vindictive'

Trump's tweets were blasted by former US Labour Secretary Robert Reich during his own interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, The Hill reported. "Let me just say, because Donald Trump is probably watching right now, let me just say: With all due respect, Mr Trump, you are the president-elect of the United States. you are looking and acting as if you are mean and petty, thin-skinned and vindictive," Reich said.

Reich also took aim at the president-elect for threatening to terminate the Air Force One contract with Boeing following harsh words from the company's CEO.

"This isn't lifting people up. This is actually penalising people for speaking their minds. What you did with Boeing the other day. Minutes after the CEO of Boeing was quoted as saying that you, Mr. Trump ... were wrong on international trade, what did you do? You tweeted that Boeing should have an order cancelled, where you called it a $4bn order," he said.