The President seems to think he knows everything and therefore does not listen to those who truly do know. He clearly has no idea of the consequences. [WW]
Other than on his old television program is Trump able to fire anyone directly? Or does he find a way to make their role untenable for one reason or another so that they quit? [WW]
The president has announced tariffs of 25% on steel imports and 10% on aluminum. It is not clear whether any trading partners will be exempt. The open question is whether this decision will trigger a trade confrontation with China, the European Union and other world trade players. [Politico, 3/1/18]
On March 7th, Sarah Sanders said in her daily press briefing that there may be exceptions to the tariff for countries like Canada and Mexico.
U.S. companies that use aluminum, like soda companies, will be forced to raise prices for U.S. consumers as will automobile companies and construction companies that use steel.
The provision that the President is planning to use to impose these tariffs is Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. It requires a finding that there is a national security reason for imposition of the tariff. Given the appropriate finding, the President is authorized to impose tariffs without the involvement of Congress.
(If you would like more information about Section 232 and these two metals go to
While the President talks about trying to pressure China for underwriting exports and the Chinese are not particularly large suppliers of steel or aluminum to the U.S. (10% of steel imports and 2% of aluminum) they are expected to respond if the President goes ahead with his plan for tariffs.
Folks who follow this issue believe the Chinese will respond in a proportional fashion, probably going after U.S. financial institutions and U.S. agriculture products. [WW]
There is always the chance that the President will change his mind before the rules are set forth, as he has done with gun control. He has until mid-April to make a final decision on both tariffs.
“I don’t believe any country in the world is going to retaliate for the simple reason we are the most lucrative and biggest market in the world.” -Peter Navarro, the White House trade advisor who along with the Secretary of Commerce pushed for the policy against the advice of other senior White House Staff like Economic advisor Gary Cohn. [WSJ, 3/3/18]
Cohn announced his resignation from the White House on March 6th.
Reportedly, Cohn considered resigning after Charlottesville. Apparently the President’s decision to announce these tariffs without any advance discussion let alone following Cohn’s advice was the last straw.
These potential actions on tariffs have apparently been opposed by Secretaries Mattis and Tillerson.
Here is a list of foreign suppliers of steel to the United States in 2017:
Canada 16% , Brazil 14%, S. Korea 10%, Mexico 9%, Russia 8%, Turkey 6%,
Japan 5%, Taiwan 4%, Germany 3%, India 2%, China 2% ; other countries 21%.
Here are the foreign suppliers of aluminum to the United States in 2017:
Canada 43%, UAE 10%, China 10%, Russia 11%, Other 26%.
Of particular note is the amount of each of these metals that come from Canada and Mexico. Here are some facts about trade between the United States and Canada and the United States and Mexico.
U.S. goods and services trade with Canada totaled an estimated $627.8 billion in 2016. Exports were $320.1 billion; imports were $307.6 billion. The U.S. Goods and services trade surplus with Canada was $12.5 billion.
U.S. good and services trade with Mexico totaled an estimated $579.7 billion in 2016. Exports were $262.0 billion; imports were $317.6 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade deficit with Mexico was $55.6 billion in 2016.
Canada is currently the 2nd largest goods trading partner of the United States.
Mexico is currently the 3rd largest goods trading partner of the United States.
Canada was the United States’ 1st largest goods export market in 2016 and Mexico was the second largest goods export market in that year.
[Source of the above – Executive Office of the President of the United States; United States Trade Representative]
Reuters has reported that the European Union has targeted $3.5 billion of U.S. import for trade retaliation.
President Trump’s proposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum will increase U.S. employment in those sectors by 33,000 jobs, but cost 179,000 jobs in other areas of the economy, according to a new report by The Trade Partnership, a consulting firm, this isn’t accounting for any potential retaliation from other countries. [Axios, 3/5/18]
“(Trump)… is incapable of not lying.” [Charles Sykes, MSNBC 2/6/18]
An appeals court upheld a $25 million settlement that President Trump will pay to resolve several lawsuits that alleged fraud in his for-profit real estate seminars dubbed “Trump University.” [Politico, 2/7/18]
“Trumps’ refusal to defend the integrity of the US election system and our Democracy from Russian attack represents an unconscionable dereliction of duty and utter faithlessness to his oath of office. This betrayal is unprecedented in American history.” [Steve Schmidt Tweet, 2/26/18]
President Trump claimed that his first State of the Union speech on January 30, 2018, which was watched by 45.6 million people watched, had the highest number of viewers in history.
That claim does not exactly comport with the facts.
Five other State of the Union addresses have exceeded Trump’s in terms of audience size. The largest was President George W. Bush who drew 62.06 million viewers in 2003; followed by Bill Clinton with 53.08 million viewers in 1998; followed by George W. Bush with 51.77 viewers in 2002; followed by Barack Obama with 48.1 viewers in 2010; followed by Bill Clinton in 1994 with 45.8 viewers.
Trump did have an audience of 47.74 million viewers for a joint session of Congress in January of 2017. Obama had 52.37 million viewers for the same speech in 2009.
57% of Americans believe that the president is a racist. [AP-NORC poll]
One point made by Jenn Agiesta, the head of polling for CNN, is that the number may be driven at least in part by folks who disapprove of Trump generally who will agree with any negative comment about Trump. [Chris Cillizza @CNN.com, 3/1/18]