Steve Bannon, the former White House strategist whom some credit for President Donald Trump’s unexpected 2016 victory, praised his former boss’s tough tariff talk on China, USA Today reported.
“I happen to think today was the most important day of Donald Trump’s presidency,” Bannon said Monday on Fox Business Network’s “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” in response to Dobbs’ praise of Trump for “standing up” to Chinese President Xi Jinping.
On Sunday, Trump said on Twitter that by the end of the week he was going to raise tariffs from 10% to 25% on $200 billion of Chinese goods.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer confirmed in a briefing Monday that the administration plans to implement the hike on Friday, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Dobbs and Bannon praised the President for not caving to the “relentless pressure” from experts and business groups that warned of the potential negative economic impacts of raising the tariffs and potentially escalating a budding trade war.
“Listen, he’s president of the United States because of the rejection of working-class people and middle-class people” and “the managed decline of our country at the hands of people like Hillary Clinton,” Bannon pointed out. “These globalists and elitists were very comfortable with the managed decline, particularly vis-a-vis the rise of China. And Donald Trump confronted that, particularly in the upper Midwest. This is the reason he won states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin.”
Bannon said that under the free trade policies of the past decades “the jobs went to China, and the opioids came in.” He noted that Trump sees tariffs as “more than taxes” while as he argued the trade maneuver is “about self-empowerment of the working class.”
Bannon also claimed China “reneged on every deal” under the presidencies of Bill Clinton, George Bush and Barack Obama. Trump, on the other hand, said “I’m not going to do this,” Bannon explained.