Posted: 2:13 pm Tuesday, July 24th, 2018
By Jamie Dupree
In the face of mounting complaints about his trade strategy, President Donald Trump on Tuesday gave no signs of backing down on his move to levy tariffs on imports into the United States, as the Trump Administration announced a $12 billion bailout plan to help farmers who have been hit by retaliatory tariffs from other nations.
“Our workers have been cheated, our companies have been cheated,” the President said in a speech to a VFW convention in Kansas City, Missouri, as he demanded ‘reasonable’ and ‘fair’ trade deals with other nations.
“We have to do it – other countries have tariffs on us,” Mr. Trump said, as he staunchly defended his effort to force other nations to lower their trade barriers, by slapping U.S. import duties on foreign products.
“These countries have been ripping us off for decades,” the President added, acknowledging that it may take time to force trade changes.
“It doesn’t take a week – it takes a little longer. But we’re going to get it done,” Mr. Trump said.
Tariffs are the greatest! Either a country which has treated the United States unfairly on Trade negotiates a fair deal, or it gets hit with Tariffs. It’s as simple as that – and everybody’s talking! Remember, we are the “piggy bank” that’s being robbed. All will be Great!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 24, 2018
But while the President proclaimed on Twitter Tuesday that, “Tariffs are the greatest!” – many in his own party strongly disagree, as they hear more and more complaints from back – especially from farmers – about how the President’s tariffs have triggered retaliation, which have cost farmers markets, and money.
“I just don’t think tariffs are the way to go, and our members are making that clear,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan, referring to growing complaints from GOP lawmakers.
“I don’t think the tariff route is the smart way to go,” the Speaker added at a news conference, though he again gave no hint that the Congress would take any kind of actual vote to rein in the President’s trade actions.
House Speaker Paul Ryan says he disagrees with President Trump’s use of tariffs: “I don’t think tariffs are the right answer. I don’t support tariffs … I think there are better tools that we can use” https://t.co/zRDp8EjbQv
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) July 24, 2018
As for the $12 billion in emergency aid to farmers, to offset losses because of the growing trade war between the U.S. and other nations, that idea landed with a thud on Capitol Hill.
“America’s farmers don’t want to be paid to lose,” said Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE). “This administration’s tariffs and bailouts aren’t going to make America great again, they’re just going to make it 1929 again.”
“Tariffs are not “the greatest,” Mr. President,” said Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ). “American farmers want access to markets, not taxpayer funded bailouts.”
Republican Sen. Ron Johnson: "Time and time again I've heard from farmers that they want trade, not aid. Instead of throwing money at a problem we've helped create … we should stop self-inflicting permanent damage to America’s economy through tariffs and a trade war."
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) July 24, 2018
But in his speech, Mr. Trump brushed aside complaints about his effort to force other countries to lower their own tariffs and trade barriers.
“The farmers will be the biggest beneficiary,” the President said confidently. “Watch.”
But positive comments about the $12 billion trade bailout were hard to find in the hallways of the Capitol.
Sen. Bob Corker characterizes Trump's farm aid proposal: "You have a terrible policy that sends farmers to the poorhouse, and then you put them on welfare, and we borrow the money from other countries."
"It's hard to believe there isn't an outright revolt right now in Congress."
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) July 24, 2018
“Most of the people in the ag community that I talk to don’t want a bailout, they just want their markets,” said Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), who was waiting to see details of the $12 billion farm bailout plan on Tuesday afternoon.
“What happens next year and the year after, every time you do tariffs and some sector is hurt?” asked Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), who said the Trump Administration decision seemingly opens the White House up to billions in aid to all sorts of different industries that have not been helped by the President’s tariffs.
“It’s clear that they haven’t thought through this,” Brown told reporters.