Trump kicked off his week with what appeared to be an impromptu phone call to CNBC Monday morning, in which he whined about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — a major business group that opposes his reckless trade war.
Trump’s call to CNBC appeared to be prompted by criticism from U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Myron Brilliant, who had just been on the network saying that Trump’s tariffs on imported goods from China and possibly Mexico are a bad idea.
“The weaponization of tariffs, the increase of threats on our economy, on our farmers, our manufacturers, our consumers, is going to hurt our country,” Brilliant said.
But rather than reply to Brilliant in a tweet, his typical venue to air grievances with what he sees on TV, Trump picked up the phone and called into that very same CNBC show to bash Brilliant and the Chamber of Commerce.
“I guess he’s not so brilliant,” Trump said, trying to play on the Chamber of Commerce official’s name.
Trump continued, “I assume, and I’m a member of the U.S. Chamber — maybe i’ll have to rethink that, because when you look at it, the Chamber is probably more for the companies and the people that are members than they are for our country. Because without tariffs, we would be absolutely — outside of something that I won’t even mention — we would be absolutely in a competitive disadvantage, the likes of which you’ve never seen now.”
Of course, Brilliant is absolutely correct: Tariffs are a tax on American consumers, since businesses often pass the cost of the tax down to them. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell admitted precisely that in an interview with Fox News last week.
But Trump has been recklessly pushing for tariffs, and falsely claiming that countries like China and Mexico — whose goods he wants to place tariffs on — would be paying the cost.
Trump has instituted tariffs on China that are already hurting farmers across the U.S., but has pressed pause on threats of tariffs on Mexico. Trump wanted to use tariffs to punish Mexico for the Central American migrant crisis.
Trump claims to have gotten concessions out of Mexico in exchange for not imposing the tariffs. However, the New York Times reported that Mexico had agreed to the concessions Trump was referencing months before, and had in fact given up absolutely nothing in this tariff fight.
After that report came out, Trump spent his Sunday melting down over the humiliating revelation about his “deal” — a meltdown that showed no signs of stopping as of Monday morning.
Published with permission of The American Independent. Attribution: Emily Singer.