The Trump team relentlessly refuses to acknowledge potential issues with their policy platform. Asked while overseas this weekend for the latest G7 summit of world leaders whether he had any regrets for kickstarting a trade war with China considering the still escalating import taxes going back and forth, President Donald Trump replied in the affirmative. However, his administration’s newest press secretary and now his top economic adviser Larry Kudlow have contorted themselves to try and rectify that statement with Trump’s pro-economic antagonism stance. On CNN’s State of the Union this weekend, Kudlow insisted that what the president meant — rather than, heaven forbid, actually acknowledging any issues with his trade policy — was that he’d had second thoughts about not raising import taxes higher.
In a rambling appearance that eventually included him insisting a straightforward video clip of world leaders’ opposition to Trump’s tariffs had been “taken out of context,” Kudlow told host Brianna Keilar:
‘Well look, if I can reinterpret that. He spoke to us, and he didn’t exactly hear the question. Actually what he was intending to say was that he always has second thoughts, and he also had second thoughts about a possibly higher tariff response to China. So it was not to remove the tariff — he was thinking about a higher tariff response.’
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow clarifies President Trump having second thoughts on escalating the trade war: “He actually had second thoughts about possibly a higher tariff response to China. So it was not to remove the tariff” #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/9UgKplhrLI
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) August 25, 2019
The explanation comes after Grisham circulated a statement insisting that Trump’s statement in question had been “greatly misinterpreted” because rather than having second thoughts about imposing the punitive tariffs in the first place, he “regrets not raising the tariffs higher.”
Grisham cleaning up for Trump is like when athletes say they are misquoted in their own autobiography. pic.twitter.com/a9EcSb2vvw
— David Nakamura (@DavidNakamura) August 25, 2019
The latest escalation in this trade war was a five percent spike in all existing import taxes targeting Chinese goods that the Trump administration announced last week. It followed China announcing it would impose its own new tariffs ranging from five to ten percent on some $75 billion worth of American goods.
This back-and-forth has put American businesses and consumers in harm’s way. Although he walked back some of the plans, Trump was threatening just recently to impose tariffs on large quantities of goods from China. These tariffs would have unfolded as the Christmas shopping season was at least trying to get underway, and the plan would have imposed harsh new costs on those American businesses trying to keep it going.
Although a catastrophe has been temporarily averted on that front, others are still suffering. In June alone, one recently released study concluded that U.S. businesses had lost a full $3.4 billion they’d have otherwise had because of the tariffs. Besides the import tax costs proving the responsibility of the U.S. businesses trying to do the actual importing, China has already announced plenty of retaliatory tariffs targeting key U.S. goods like soybeans. So Americans have been struggling.
During the G7 summit this weekend, a number of world leaders spoke out against Trump trade policies. Even the United Kingdom’s newest conservative leader Boris Johnson insisted that “we don’t like tariffs on the whole.” When Keilar asked Kudlow how the Trump team is “responding to criticism from world leaders” about the trade war with China, Kudlow went on a minutes-long rant seeming to try and deny there was any criticism at all. He kept insisting that a clip of Johnson’s remarks was “taken out of context” — when it was a straightforward video of Johnson.
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) August 25, 2019
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