GOP strategist Steve Schmidt ripped into President Donald Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for initiating a trade war “for no good reason” that “will have “devastating consequences in the country.”
“Maybe this will be experiential learning for the American people, as Donald Trump precipitates for no good reason a trade war that will have devastating consequences in the country, not just in the equities market but for real jobs, real people, real towns and cities in this country,” Schmidt said.
“The consequences of an inept and incompetent president, whether it’s a from a national security perspective with people being killed in wars or economically, will start to come home now,” he continued. “I think that’s what we’re starting to see here. This is very bad news for the American people, for people who are trying to get ahead, people trying to put their kids through college. You look at the attacks on Amazon, for example. If you’re a retired teacher, if you’re a pensioner, you’re devastated by the drop in stock price caused by a political attack by the president.”
“It’s patently obvious when you watched the news conference (Monday), you watched the president talking about the trilateral relationship with the Baltic republics, he has no idea what he’s talking about,” Schmidt said. “It’s the musings of an imbecile, really.”
“You want to talk about crashing the market, abrogate the NAFTA agreement, disrupt the trillion dollars of trade that flows across the border and this is what happens,” Schmidt said. “This is an incompetent president who has no idea what he’s doing, no idea what he’s talking about. The consequences of incompetent actions will be paid for by the American people.”
“We’re starting to see that now, we’re starting to see this with the market reaction,” he added. “We’re starting to see this in the bilateral China relationship, and so there are consequences for this type of action and behavior, and the American people are soon going to start paying the bill for it.”
World Trade Organization director-general Roberto Azevêdo warned last month that the world is at risk of a trade war and deep recession because of President Trump’s announced tariffs of 25 percent on steel on 10 percent on aluminum.
“It is clear that we now see a much higher and real risk of triggering an escalation of trade barriers across the globe,” he said at a meeting of the whole WTO membership. “We cannot ignore this risk and I urge all parties to consider and reflect on this situation very carefully.
“Once we start down this path, it will be very difficult to reverse direction. An eye for an eye will leave us all blind and the world in deep recession. We must make every effort to avoid the fall of the first dominoes.”
Trump declared his intent to raise tariffs last month and followed the announcement with a rapid succession of tweets in which he said a trade war would be “good” and “easy to win.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders later clarified that, “The president is very confident that if that’s where we ended up [in a trade war] we certainly would win, but that’s not the goal. The goal is to get free, fair and reciprocal trade and hope that other countries will join in.”