President Donald Trump on Friday appeared to accuse companies of falsely claiming that they’ve been hurt by his escalating trade war with China, instead saying they’re mismanaging their businesses.
“If the Fed would cut, we would have one of the biggest Stock Market increases in a long time. Badly run and weak companies are smartly blaming these small Tariffs instead of themselves for bad management…and who can really blame them for doing that? Excuses!” Trump wrote on Twitter Friday.
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Trump’s comments come just days before the U.S. is set to impose new tariffs on China in two rounds, with the first due to start on Sept. 1. The 10 percent tariff on approximately $112 billion of Chinese goods would likely raise prices for consumer items like electronics and shoes.
In one example of corporate America complaining about Trump’s trade war, the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America wrote a letter to the president this week stating that the planned tariffs would drive up costs for consumers.
“Imposing tariffs in September on the majority of all footwear products from China — including nearly every type of leather shoe — will make it impossible for hardworking American individuals and families to escape the harm that comes from these tax increases,” the group wrote. “This uncertainty the China trade war has brought to our industry is stifling U.S. growth and halting capital investment in jobs, infrastructure, technologies, and more competitive pricing for our customers.”
In an interview with CNN’s Richard Quest, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro vigorously defended his boss’s use of tariffs.
“Absent the tariffs that have been put in place on China, China would never have come to the bargaining table and advanced this far in those negotiations,” Navarro said. “President Trump is using the tariff strategy brilliantly.”
Trump defended his strategy after Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said “there’s no question” the trade war is contributing to a slowdown of the economy.
“So what does Pat Toomey want me to do? Does he want me to say let me put my hands up and let China continue to rip us off?” Trump fired back in an interview on Thursday with Brian Kilmeade on Fox News Radio. Trump later added that talks with China would continue.
“I think they want to make a deal,” Trump said. “I sort of think they have to make a deal.”