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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Friday, June 30, 2017

The Winds of Trade War

In Defying the Odds, we talk about the social and economic divides that enabled Trump to enter the White House. Under Reagan and the Bushes, the GOP was the party of free trade.  Now,  Much of the Trump base believes in trade protectionism.

Mike Allen reports at Axios about a Monday White House meeting:
With more than 20 top officials present, including Trump and Vice President Pence, the president and a small band of America First advisers made it clear they're hell-bent on imposing tariffs — potentially in the 20% range — on steel.
The penalties could eventually extend to other imports. Among those that may be considered: aluminum, semiconductors, paper, and appliances like washing machines.
One official estimated the sentiment in the room as 22-3 — but since one of the three is named Donald Trump, it was case closed.
No final decision has been made, but the President is leaning toward imposing tariffs, despite opposition from nearly all his Cabinet.
In a plan pushed by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and backed by chief strategist Steve Bannon (not present at the meeting), trade policy director Peter Navarro and senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, the United States would impose tariffs on China and other big exporters of steel. Neither Mike Pence nor Jared Kushner weighed in either way.
Everyone else in the room, more than 75% of those present, were adamantly opposed, arguing it was bad economics and bad global politics. At one point, Trump was told his almost entire cabinet thought this was a bad idea. But everyone left the room believing the country is headed toward a major trade confrontation.