After U.S. stock markets dipped on the news he is escalating his trade war with China, President Donald Trump claimed he is unfazed by the tumble. And he appeared unconcerned that a waiting campaign rally crowd might repeat a racist chant he claims to oppose.
“I’m not concerned about that at all,” he said of the markets’ drop. “I kind of expected that … because people don’t really understand what’s going on.” And on the ”send her back!” chant that a North Carolina crowd broke into last month about Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Trump said he doubts he could stop his supporters if they all want to send that message.
The president also told reporters that the new 10 percent tariffs on an additional $300 billion in Chinese goods could swell to 25 percent if the two economic giants cannot broker a sweeping trade deal.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 280 points after Trump tweeted earlier in the day his administration would impose the new import fees. Once implemented, the duties would be in addition to 25 percent tariffs already in place on around $250 billion worth of Chinese items. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite indexes also showed losses Thursday.
During another gaggle with reporters as he left the White House, the president repeated what independent fact-checkers have dubbed a false claim because U.S. consumers typically shoulder the impact of tariffs.
“China, they have to pay it,” he said. “They’re paying for these tariffs. We’re not.”
One fact-checking group, Politifact, gave that claim its “false” rating.
“China doesn’t pay the initial tariffs — U.S. importers do. In many if not most cases, those costs are passed on to American consumers, whether it’s directly on the products hit by the tariffs or through an impact on U.S. companies who use raw materials hit with tariffs,” Politifact wrote in a May 14 blog post.
Trump tweeted that the new import fees will go into place even as the two countries attempt to get stalled trade talks back on track.
A U.S. delegation who met with a Chinese team in Shanghai this week briefed Trump Wednesday about what the White House called “constructive” talks. But senior U.S. officials, including the president, are admitting that Beijing has failed to live up to several promises. One is an alleged pledge to buy more U.S. agriculture goods; the Chinese government has denied making that promise.
The president spoke to reporters on the way to a campaign rally in Cincinnati, Ohio, his first since a Greenville, N.C., audience chanted “send her back!” about the Somali-born Omar. The president had tweeted that she and three other minority House Democratic freshwomen should go back to countries from which he claimed they were born. (Only Omar was born outside the U.S.; all are American citizens.)
“I have no idea what’s going to happen. … I don’t know that you can stop people. If they do it, we’ll have to make a decision then.”