With the world’s 2 biggest economies on the brink of a full-scale trade war, President Donald Trump continues to insist that the U.S. remains in a much better position than China.
Some Democrats acknowledge the president’s position but disagree with his method.
“The president is best to counter China,” Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia said Tuesday. “We’re fretted about the Chinese undercutting American industries. We’re stressed over Chinese thefts of intellectual properties.”
But although Democrats like Kaine are backing the president in theory, they are knocking his execution.
“His impulse isn’t incorrect, however what he’s doing to resolve the problem is in fact just most painful for Americans, not the Chinese,” Kaine added.
“I believe it’s appropriate that Trump administration has said the status quo with China is not working,” Virginia’s other Democratic senator, Mark Warner, said.
“But my worry is that this president is so nervous to declare a triumph that he might sacrifice the long-term interests of our nation to claim a short-term political success,” he added.
Both Kaine and Warner have actually previously raised issues about how Trump’s ongoing trade war could injure Virginia services and families. According to the Virginia Department of Farming and Customer Providers, China is Virginia’s top agricultural export market for soybeans.
In 2018, Virginia exported more than $58 million soybean items to China– an 83 percent decline from 2017, according to a joint press release from the senators.
President Trump downplayed the escalating trade war with China in remarks to reporters earlier on Tuesday, labeling the dispute as a “little squabble.”
“We’re having a little squabble with China since we’ve been dealt with extremely unfairly for lots of, many decades– for, actually, a long time. And it needs to have been handled a long time earlier, and it wasn’t. And we’ll handle it now,” Trump stated.
Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, by far one of the loudest voices in the Democratic Party over the last few years to support strong actions against China, slammed Trump for bungling his handling of the trade negotiations.
“I’m extremely worried that the president has actually not comprehended that the tariffs need to be a brief term tool to get to a long term policy,” Brown said. “He appears to believe that tariffs are the policy, and that undercuts American agriculture, it also injures the supply chain and production.”
When asked by ABC News if Trump is informing the reality when he says China will bear the expense of the trade war, “He makes that up,” Brown responded.
“It’s another one of the Trump lies when he says ‘China spends for this.’ American consumers are paying, American farmers are paying, American companies are paying and especially American workers are paying,” Brown stated.
“The truth is that simply because Donald Trump states something is real or wants something to be true does not imply it holds true,” Warner stated. “Even the president’s trade adviser Larry Kudlow has actually acknowledged that when the president slaps these tariffs on, the American consumer pays a greater cost.”
However Trump is getting uncommon praise from the Senate’s top Democrat.
“We have to have hard strong policies versus China or they’ll continue to steal millions of American jobs and trillions of American dollars … we ought to all be joined and targeted at China,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters Tuesday.
“I believe if we’re actually strong and difficult versus China and the president takes my guidance … we will come to an excellent service and extremely rapidly,” Schumer said. “I hope he does not back out and develop a weak service since China is going to continue to harm us, over and over again.”
On The Other Hand, Senate Republicans, who have generally opposed enforcing tariffs, are grudgingly supporting the president on his existing trade policy.
“What the president’s doing is using tariffs as a tool to get them to change the behavior that leads to them cheating us out of market share,” GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham said. “Somebody needs to have done this 30 years back. And I’ll guarantee the president.”
However they confess they are concerned that the president’s positioning is harming American customers and the farming neighborhood across the United States.
“No one wins a trade war and we’re all hoping, as others have actually suggested here, that these strategies get us into a better position vis-a-vis China, which has actually been our worst and most unreasonable trading relationship for an extremely long time,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday during a press conference.
When he was asked clearly if tariffs are taxes paid by American consumers, contrary to what the president has actually been recommending in recent days: “As I said, ultimately no one wins a trade war unless there is an arrangement at the end after which tariffs disappear. Ideally these methods will lead us to that day, and if it does, I think it’ll be a winner for both sides,” McConnell said.
Iowa GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley says farmers will be the first to feel the results of the continuous trade conflict, but he thinks the tariffs on Chinese imports will send a strong message, and stated China ought to stop imitating a “3rd rate country.”
“I’m concerned extremely much,” Grassley stated on what the tariffs might mean for the farmers he represents. “However in the end, all of us should be worried about China breaching every rule of trade that they might violate … there isn’t a single farmer in the United States that believes it’s OKAY for China to take that and our trade secrets and control their currency.”
GOP Sen. Jon Thune of South Dakota was asked if he agrees with the president because China will be bearing the cost of the tariffs, and not the U.S. customer.
“It has an effect, a lot of, certainly, the costs get handed down to the consumers, there are effects there,” Thune replied. “There are plainly effects on the [agriculture] economy and we’re feeling that in farm nation.”
He included: “I don’t think anybody wins trade wars.” However he go on to recommend the tariffs might be an extra pressure that will have the “wanted result” in bringing China back to the negotiating table.