President Trump’s tough stance and his willingness to challenge to conventional wisdom on trade has surprised and frustrated many pundits and politicians in both parties. At a White House event this week showcasing products made in America, Trump declared:
“Our leaders in Washington did nothing, they did nothing. They let our factories leave, they let our people lose their jobs. That’s not free trade, that’s fool’s trade, that’s stupid trade and we don’t do that kind of trade anymore.”
Those remarks set the stage for his meeting yesterday with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Trump’s tariffs got Europe’s attention and Juncker was looking to deal. So the president threw down the gauntlet. Just hours before they met, he tweeted:
“I have an idea for them. Both the U.S. and the E.U. drop all Tariffs, Barriers and Subsidies! That would finally be called Free Market and Fair Trade! Hope they do it, we are ready – but they won’t.”
Well, it’s not yet a done deal, but it seems like Trump and Juncker made significant progress.
When the two leaders emerged from their meeting, President Trump announced that they had agreed “to work together toward zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers, and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods.”
Other administrations largely conceded to Europe’s trade barriers. This president is fighting back, and he’s winning! I hope this news causes some of Trump’s critics to calm down.
While I don’t expect the left will relax its “resistance,” it is beyond frustrating to see Republican senators like Bob Corker and Jeff Flake joining Trump’s foreign critics who are angry with him for trying to get a better deal for American workers.
When they do that, they are weakening the president’s hand by signaling that he does not even have the full support of his own party.
More importantly, they are weakening the Republican Party with the very voters they need to maintain their majority and to prevent the socialist left from gaining power.
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