Not a Single Economist Polled Backed Trump’s Tariffs

A new University of Chicago survey of 43 top economists found not a single one said President Trump’s new tariffs on steel and aluminum will end up being a net positive for Americans.

Overall, 65% of respondents said they “strongly disagreed” when asked if Trump’s move “imposing new US tariffs on steel and aluminum will improve Americans’ welfare,” while 28% simply disagreed. Three economists, or the remaining 7%, did not respond to the survey.

Democrats Don’t Realize They’re the Free Trade Party

Ron Brownstein: “This silence speaks volumes about the Democrats’ inability, or unwillingness, to recognize the evolving nature of the party’s demographic and geographic base. While many Democrats still think of the party as the home of blue-collar industrial regions hostile to trade, in fact, the party is now centered in the major metropolitan areas that are integrated into global markets and at the forefront of the transition into the information-age, digital economy. The most telling measure of that shift: while Hillary Clinton won fewer than one-sixth of America’s counties in 2016, her counties accounted for nearly 60 percent of all US exports, according to calculations by the Metropolitan Policy Program at the center-left Brookings Institution.”

“Yet few Democrats are articulating the interest of those areas in the tariff debate — either because they share the President’s long-standing suspicion of free trade, or because they fear antagonizing the labor unions who promote protectionist policies as well.”

Senate Republicans May Try to Block Tariffs

“A bloc of Senate Republicans is readying legislation to halt Donald Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs, in the most provocative step yet taken to thwart the president on trade,” Politico reports.

“Senate Republicans discussed the matter in depth on Thursday, just hours before Trump announced he would go through with his crackdown on imported metals. And they are gearing up for an open clash with Trump over economic policy, with Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) telling reporters that he will introduce legislation to block the tariffs.”

Trump Imposes Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum

“President Trump will sign a pair of proclamations Thursday that impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum but offer relief to some U.S. allies,” the Washington Post reports.

“The tariffs, which take effect in 15 days, initially will not apply to imports from Canada and Mexico so that U.S. officials can assess progress toward a new North American Free Trade deal.”

“Other countries with a ‘security relationship’ to the United States may seek exemptions by opening talks with the administration on ‘alternative ways’ to address the threats the administration alleges their products pose to national security.”

GOP Leaders Look to Pence on Tariffs

“In public, Vice President Mike Pence is loudly praising his boss’ proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum — while gently urging him to scale back the policy behind the scenes,” Politico reports.

“Pence, according to more than a half-dozen White House and Capitol Hill aides, has been quietly delivering messages to the president from Republicans on the Hill, who have publicly opposed the tariffs plan set to be announced as early as Thursday—though he’s made sure to maintain a studiously neutral position, to the frustration of some who had hoped he would do more to exert influence over Trump.”

Trump Wants to Start His Trade War Tomorrow

“President Trump wants to sign a presidential proclamation tomorrow to set his steel and aluminum tariffs in motion,” Axios reports.

“Trump is impatient and he wants to act — or at least be seen as acting. He got fed up with staff, especially Gary Cohn and Rob Porter, not giving him his tariffs on steel and aluminum. And some of Trump’s nationalist-minded advisers are telling him these tariffs will help turn out voters in the upcoming special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district.”

“Keep in mind that this is what Trump has been telling staff he wants. These days — and in this White House — nothing is set in stone. Besides, the White House lawyers have been working overtime on these tariffs and sources tell me nothing is certain when it comes to timing.”

How the GOP Will Try to Reverse Trump’s Tariff Decision

Playbook: “Senior Republicans are resigned to the fact that they can’t stop Trump from placing these tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. But if he follows through on his threat, senior Republicans will give him time to cool down, and then approach the president with data to show him that he’s wrong, and explain that the tariffs need to be refined. The GOP feels like he’s dug in, at the moment, and not terribly receptive to any outside views. Ryan hinted as much in a closed party meeting Tuesday morning in the Capitol.”

GOP Voters Overwhelmingly Support Trump’s Tariffs

A new Quinnipiac poll finds that American voters oppose tariffs on steel and aluminum, 50% to 31%, and disagree with President Trump’s claim that a trade war would be good for the U.S. and easily won, 64% to 28%.

“Every listed party, gender, education, age and racial group oppose steel and aluminum tariffs, except Republicans, who support tariffs by 58% to 20% and white voters with no college degree, who are divided, 42% to 40%.”

Trump Thinks Cohn Will Leave If Tariffs Happen

“President Trump has told advisers that he believes economic adviser Gary Cohn will leave his White House job if Trump decides to go forward with tariffs on imported steel and aluminum,” Bloomberg reports.

“Cohn has mounted a last-ditch effort, along with other administration officials and some Republican lawmakers, to head off steep tariffs that threaten to unleash a global trade war.”

White House Opens Door to Compromise on Tariffs

“President Trump, facing an angry chorus of protests from leaders of his own party, including House speaker Paul Ryan, insisted on Monday that he would not back down from his plan to impose across-the-board tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. But the White House was devising ways to potentially soften the impact of the measures on major trading partners,” the New York Times reports.

“The intense maneuvering, which began before Mr. Trump’s unexpected announcement of the tariffs last Thursday, is likely to delay any formal rollout of the measures until next week, according to several officials who have been briefed on the deliberations.”

Politico: “Gary Cohn and other free-trade advocates inside the White House and the Treasury Department are mounting a last-ditch effort to blunt the impact of Trump’s head-turning decision.”