President Trump earlier this month accused some of his top economic advisors of being “globalists” that were resisting his economic nationalist, protectionist agenda after they didn’t bring him any China tariffs, saying that “China is laughing at us,” Axios reported on Sunday.
“For the last six months, this same group of geniuses comes in here all the time and I tell them, ‘Tariffs. I want tariffs.’ And what do they do? They bring me IP. I can’t put a tariff on IP,” Trump reportedly told White House Chief of Staff John Kelly during a meeting about the administration’s plans to investigate China for stealing U.S. intellectual property and technology.
“China is laughing at us. Laughing.”
The Hill added:
Also attending the meeting – the account of which was confirmed to Axios by anonymous sources – were U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, senior trade adviser Peter Navarro, top economic adviser Gary Cohn, staff secretary Rob Porter and Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon, who was ousted not long after.
“John, let me tell you why they didn’t bring me any tariffs,” Trump said. “I know there are some people in the room right now that are upset. I know there are some globalists in the room right now. And they don’t want them, John, they don’t want the tariffs. But I’m telling you, I want tariffs.”
“The president has been very clear about his agenda as it relates to trade,” a White House official told Axios. “Discussions pertaining to specific tariffs and trade deals are ongoing and have already resulted in many positive developments.”