The president came into office promising to put his business experience to work for the benefit of the country. What he did not emphasize, however, is the fact that there are a number of bankruptcies and failures that checker his past as a businessman, and it’s an open question what part of Trump’s experience as a businessman we are currently being subjected to as a country — the “successes” or the bankruptcies.
He recently announced plans for a round of tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, a move that has sparked wide concern about an impending trade war. The stakes are enormously higher with Donald Trump as president than they were while he was a private businessman, but even in the face of concern, he’s pushing on anyway.
Speaking to reporters this week at the White House, the president insisted that he has no intention of backing down from his plans for the tariffs. It’s not as though even as president he has a very illustrious record on issues of the wider foreign policy that his trade policy falls under. For example, his belligerence towards the North Koreans has given them the excuse to develop their nuclear capabilities to the point of claiming the ability to hit the U.S., and yet on that issue — and this one — the president is continuing to push on anyway.
He began by suggesting that any possibility for the tariffs being relaxed is tied to the success that he perceives efforts to renegotiate NAFTA to have.
As he put it:
‘We’ve had a very bad deal with Mexico, a very bad deal with Canada — it’s called NAFTA. Our factories have left our country, our jobs have left our country. For many years, NAFTA has been a disaster. We are renegotiating NAFTA, as I said we would, and if we don’t make a deal, I’ll terminate NAFTA, but if
I do make a deal which is fair to the workers and to the American people, that would be, I would imagine, one of the points we will negotiate — it will be tariffs on steel for Canada and for Mexico.’
It’s true that the president has long railed against, among other trade relationships, NAFTA, having long threatened to completely pull the United States out of the agreement, despite a lack of evidence that it’s the devil he claims it to be.
Other international agreements that the president has moved to withdraw the United States from include the Paris Climate Accord, that agreement reached between hundreds of countries in recent years that called for certain benchmarks to be reached in the fight against climate change in coming years.
Continuing on while speaking to reporters on Monday, Trump echoed the ultra-nationalist rhetoric that he has long peddled, saying:
‘People have to understand, our country, on trade, has been ripped off by virtually every country in the world, whether it’s friend or enemy — everybody.’
Check out video of his remarks below.
President Trump on #tariffs and trade: “No, we’re not backing down.”
— CSPAN (@cspan) March 5, 2018
His remarks, offered while sitting alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, came after interests including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan — who is himself a Republican — expressed concern that Trump’s plans for tariffs could spark a trade war.
Trump shot down these concerns while speaking to reporters on Monday, although just recently he quipped “trade wars” are good when speaking of the same subject.
Featured Image via Screenshot from the Video