Trump showcases US-made products at the White House
Checking out a speedboat, a fighter jet and a giant industrial magnet parked on the White House driveway, President Donald Trump showcased an array of “Made in America” products Monday as his administration pushes back aggressively against critics who say his punishing tariffs on imported goods threaten to harm the U.S. economy.
Trump’s event with a smorgasbord of American goods came at the start of a week in which trade discussions are expected to dominate, including talks with European officials and a trip to Illinois in which the president is planning to visit a community helped along by his steel tariffs.
Trump has vowed to force international trading partners to bend to his will as he seeks to renegotiate a series of trade deals he has long argued hurt American workers. But as he deepens the U.S. involvement in trade fights, it raises questions on whether American consumers will feel the pain of retaliatory tariffs – and whether the president will incur a political price for his nationalistic trade policies in the 2018 midterm elections.
“Our leaders in Washington did nothing; they did nothing. They let our factories leave; they let our people lose their jobs,” Trump said at the White House. “That’s not free trade. That’s fool’s trade, that’s stupid trade, and we don’t do that kind of trade anymore.”
Trump noted that he would be meeting Wednesday with European officials, including European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. The U.S. and European allies have been at odds over the president’s tariffs on steel imports and are meeting as the dispute threatens to spread to the lucrative automobile business. “Maybe we can work something out,” he said.
On Thursday, the president will visit Granite City, Ill., the home of a U.S. Steel Corp. mill that has reopened after he imposed tariffs on steel imports.
On the South Lawn, the president walked among a number of products manufactured across the nation, including a Lockheed Martin F 35 aircraft from Maryland, a Ford F-150 pickup truck from Michigan, a Newmar recreational vehicle from Indiana and a Ranger speedboat from Arkansas.
Trump has already put taxes on imported steel and aluminum, saying they pose a threat to U.S. national security, an argument that enrages staunch U.S. allies such as the European Union and Canada.
He’s threatening to use the national security justification again to slap tariffs on imported cars, trucks and auto parts, potentially targeting imports that last year totaled $335 billion.
And he’s already imposed tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese imports in a separate dispute over Beijing’s high-tech industrial policies. He has threatened to ratchet that up past $500 billion.