Defending his decision to slap tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, President Donald Trump signaled on Friday morning that he would continue to be aggressive on trade imbalances with other nations, sending out an early morning tweet that “trade wars are good, and easy to win.”
“We must protect our country and our workers,” the President said.
While the announcement on Thursday came as a surprise to GOP lawmakers in Congress, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that no one should doubt the President’s resolve to shake things up on trade.
“This is something he’s wanted to do for awhile. Never say never, but I think he’s pretty committed to moving this forward,” said Sanders.
“He is incredibly focused on the American worker,” she added.
While the President made clear during the 2016 campaign that he would press the world on trade, his decisions rattled Republicans in the Congress, many of whom swiftly labeled the Trump tariffs a tax on consumers.
“Putting new taxes on aluminum and steel will hurt our economy and increase prices on hardworking Minnesotans,” said Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN).
“Make no mistake: If the President goes through with this, it will kill American jobs,” said Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), who for a second day voiced the concerns of rural America about trade battles.
“I urge him to work closely with Congress to minimize the harmful impact these tariffs will have on American businesses, workers, and consumers,” said Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN), who urged the President at a recent meeting not to proceed with tariffs.
The final details of the President’s steel and aluminum tariffs are still not clear, as they could exempt certain items – for now, Mr. Trump says the rates will be 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum.
“I wouldn’t expect those to change, but some of the other details need to be finalized,” said the President’s Press Secretary.