In order to create early battle lines in the Republican presidential primary contest, former President Donald Trump promised a “sweeping pro-American transformation” of the country’s trade policies if elected again. This pledge revived a rhetoric that helped him win the presidency in 2016.
Trump’s early emphasis on the subject implies that he is looking for areas where he feels he has an advantage over possible Republican challengers.
As a Democrat running for president in 2020, Joe Biden similarly tried to use this appeal to sell voters on a trade plan he claimed would advance the interests of working Americans.
In a campaign video, Trump pledged to defeat “a Corrupt system that punishes home manufacturers and encourages outsourcers” and to secure “a system that honors domestic production and taxes foreign firms and those who export American jobs.”
With this emphasis on trade, Trump won over traditional “blue wall” states in 2016 and drew from this base of support once more to win states like Ohio in 2020.
This week, the former president declared that, if re-elected, he would impose “universal baseline tariffs on most foreign products,” raise them in response to currency manipulation or unfair trade practices by other nations, adopt a four-year plan to gradually phase out all Chinese imports of goods like steel and pharmaceuticals, and forgo federal contracts with any company that outsources to China.
Trump also promised to rescind Beijing’s status as a “most favored nation” in trade, a move that would significantly increase tariffs on the half a trillion dollars in commodities imported from China each year.
He declared, “My plan will tax China to strengthen America.”
Trade hawks asserted that they thought Robert Lighthizer, Trump’s powerful former U.S. trade representative, was behind the plan.
In a head-to-head matchup with Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), a possible front-runner for the 2024 nomination, a new survey shows Trump gaining ground.
According to a Yahoo News/YouGov poll of 1,516 American adults conducted between February 23 and February 27, Trump currently leads DeSantis among Republican voters, 47% to 39%, a net 12 percentage point flip from his previous position of trailing the Florida governor for several months. Early in February, DeSantis had a 45% to 41% lead over Trump.
After Florida Republicans surged to victory in the midterm elections, garnering support from independents and centrists, DeSantis emerged as Trump’s greatest prospective opponent. He defied Republicans’ dismal national performance, including some prominent endorsements from the former president.
The Florida governor railed against decades of American trade policy that, in his words, had “enriched large corporations in the United States, further eroded America’s industrial base, and bolstered the CCP” in a memoir that was just published this week. He also attacked the decision to grant China “most favored nation” trading status.
Yet, trade hawks assert that they are still analyzing DeSantis’s stance on trade and tariffs, positions that might be crucial in a close nomination contest.
Mike Pompeo, Trump’s previous secretary of state, said it was “common logic” that China should no longer be granted most-favorable nation designation in an interview with the Washington Examiner last year. One of the many well-known Republicans considering a 2024 presidential run is Pompeo.
Trump attacked Biden in the video posted on Truth Social because his government had just approved new legislation to support American semiconductor and other industry. He added that he will enact safeguards to prevent China from getting around limits by shipping goods through intermediary nations.
In actuality, Joe Biden is promoting the same pro-China globalist agenda that tore the industrial heart out of our nation, despite his claims to defend American industry, according to Trump.
Biden has been urged by Republican senators to prevent Chinese green energy corporations from flouting trade regulations designed to protect American workers’ interests.