President Donald Trump demanded tariffs against China at a White House meeting earlier this month, and accused some of his top advisers of being “globalists,” Axios reported 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 said, referring to intellectual-property theft.
The meeting was held by General John Kelly during his first week as White House chief of staff to discuss plans about an inquiry into China’s alleged theft of intellectual property.
“China is laughing at us. Laughing,” Trump complained over the trade imbalance between the countries.
“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.” Trump reportedly said.
Economic adviser Gary Cohn, who has raised concerns that tariffs could lead to retaliation from China, was in the room and had his shoulders slumped when Trump spoke about the issue.
Senior trade adviser Peter Navarro, who has sparred with Cohn on the issue, was in the room, too, but Trump didn’t pay him any mind when he pulled out a foam board chart. The meeting ended with Trump reiterating his point.
“John, let me tell you why they didn’t bring me any tariffs. 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.” he stressed.