President Donald Trump’s demand that American companies leave China appears to have been the last straw for the Wall Street Journal editorial board.
On Friday, after China announced new retaliatory tariffs in response to Trump’s own previously announced tariffs that he had decided to put on hold so Americans would not see higher prices during the Christmas season, Trump had a meltdown on Twitter.
In the manic tweets, Trump attacked Federal Reserve chair Jay Powell and labeled him an enemy of the state and destroyed any notion that he supports free markets by literally ordering all American companies to stop doing business with or in China.
This escalation of the trade war caused the stock market to plunge 600 points, and raised new fears that a global recession in on the way.
Up to now, the conservative-leaning Wall Street Journal had been relatively reserved in their criticism of Trump’s trade war. But the gloves came off in response to Trump tweets.
“The trouble with trade wars, like shooting wars, is that once they start you never know how they’re going to end,” the editorial began. “The enemy gets a vote, and sometimes events escalate in ugly fashion. Take Friday, which saw China retaliate for Donald Trump ’s recent tariffs, Mr. Trump blows a gasket, markets tank, and Mr. Trump impose even more tariffs.”
“Mr. Trump began tweeting like a bull in a china shop,” the editorial continued before directly quoting Trump’s words.
My only question is, who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?’ he tweeted, as if Mr. Powell isn’t a patriot. We don’t need China and, frankly, would be far better off without them. Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME.
Yeah, the Wall Street Journal is not amused and compared Trump to a dictator.
“Order? Somebody should tell Chairman Trump this isn’t the People’s Republic of America,” the board wrote. “U.S. businesses have been trying to shift production out of China to avoid tariffs, but supply chains that have been developed over decades can’t be uprooted overnight. And no other country has China’s huge relatively skilled workforce, infrastructure, and network of suppliers.”
The Journal then slammed Trump and his economic adviser Peter Navarro for claiming China has more to lose from the tariffs. In reality, Trump has only given China more leverage.
“Markets are wondering if we’re heading toward mutual assured economic destruction,” the board wrote. “Mr. Trump this week also dismissed the risk of a recession, but his continued mauling of Mr. Powell suggests he’s less than confident about the U.S. economy. Perhaps Beijing has taken note and believes its leverage in trade negotiations is increasing.”
The board then pointed out that farmers have already lost billions and are now going to lose more all while the American auto industry is set to lose big because China is resuming collecting duties on cars. In fact, they noted 16,000 American autoworkers have lost their jobs this year alone.
To cap it all off, the board concluded by mocking Trump.
“What was that again about trade wars being easy to win?” they asked.
Clearly, Trump’s order to American companies is a direct assault on the very free-market capitalism that conservatives claim to support. But Republicans are still remaining silent even as Trump continues to implode. Our country is headed toward a recession, and Trump and the GOP are to blame for it.
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