‘Mr. Trump Might Rage on Twitter, but Congress Needs to Send Him a Message That His Protectionism Isn’t Cost-Free’
According to the editorial board of the conservative Wall Street Journal, Republicans must band together and strip President Donald Trump of some of his trade powers before he does irreparable damage to the U.S. economy.
Under the headline, Congress vs. Trump on Tariffs, the board blamed Democrats for the laws that have allowed the President to impose tariffs — citing national security — before saying the GOP needs to “rein” Trump in.
“Republicans have complained for years that the executive has encroached on the powers of the legislature, but the GOP hasn’t done much to stop the invasion. This week a bipartisan coalition in the Senate is finally rebelling against the Trump Administration’s unilateral trade war, and we’re glad to see it,” the editors wrote, adding that they are encouraged by push-back from Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker (R).
Noting that U.S. presidents were granted additional constitutional authority on trade dating back to the “Smoot-Hawley tariffs in 1929 that kicked off a global trade war and contributed to the Great Depression,” the journal said that Trump is now misusing them.
“The long-time assumption was that while Congress represented parochial or regional interests, a President would act in the national interest to expand trade. And for decades executives of both parties did. George H.W. Bush negotiated Nafta, while Bill Clinton pushed it through Congress. Free-trade Republicans in Congress passed bilateral trade deals under both Democratic and GOP Presidents,” the opinion piece read.
“Enter Donald Trump, who has now taken that authority and is using it for protectionist, rather than trade-opening, ends. It’s no accident he’s using Section 232, which gives him enormous latitude to define a national-security trade threat and virtually unlimited authority to impose a tariff or quota remedy,” it continued. “For the first time in nearly a century, a President is more protectionist than Congress, and Congress needs to rein him in.”
“Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is saying the Corker bill would be ‘an exercise in futility’ because either the House or Senate might fail and show Congress is impotent, or the President will veto. But so what? Members of Congress don’t take orders from Mr. Trump and they have their own principles and constituents to represent,” the editors suggested.
“If they think Mr. Trump’s trade policy is harming the economy, they have an obligation to try to stop him,” the editors advised. “They’ll have more than a few allies. The National Retail Federation has endorsed the Corker bill, as has the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association. Jamie Dimon, chairman of the Business Roundtable, said this week that Mr. Trump’s trade policy could undermine the strong economy.”
The Journal editors also went on to point out what they can expect from a president more inclined to tweets than policy discussion.
“Mr. Trump might rage on Twitter, but Congress needs to send him a message that his protectionism isn’t cost-free,” they concluded. “Otherwise he might believe he can get away with blowing up Nafta, imposing a 25% tariff on imported cars, or shutting down trade with China. Mr. Corker’s effort is a test of the Republican Congress’s political will and its sincerity on the economic benefits of free trade.”
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Lincoln Project Trolls Trump with New TV Ad Where He’s Currently Vacationing
According to the Sun Sentinel, the group has bought air time in the West Palm Beach market from Wednesday through Jan. 5. Trump is scheduled to be in the area until Jan. 3.
“A major pillar of The Lincoln Project’s 2020 strategy was aiming to torment an audience of one — Trump — through advertising on cable shows he’s sure to watch on channels such as Fox News,” the Sentinel reports. “That’s the aim of the latest effort, which seeks to drive a wedge between Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who will preside over the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress at which the electoral votes making Joe Biden the next president will be counted.”
The ad focuses on recent reports that say Vice President Mike Pence is “backing away” from Trumpworld’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
“When Mike Pence is backing away from you, you know it’s over,” the ad states.
Watch the ad below.
— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) December 22, 2020
‘A Parting Gift to Dictators’: Trump Issues Final Round of Foreign Military Sales in Middle East
On Monday, writing for The Washington Post, columnist Brian Klaas tore into outgoing President Donald Trump for a final round of foreign military sales in the Middle East that function as a “parting gift to dictators” — and suggested he could even be using them to set up a private quid pro quo down the road in his post-presidency.
“All three regimes have abysmal human rights records,” wrote Klaas. “Saudi Arabia has beheaded dissidents, subjugated women and detained female activists who have pushed for reforms, and murdered and dismembered Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi. The United Arab Emirates is home to torture, arbitrary detention and forced disappearances. Egypt’s dictatorship has carried
“Given past behavior, we know how these weapons will likely be used,” warned Klaas. “Despots will use them to help facilitate war crimes in places such as Yemen and the Sinai Peninsula while maintaining an iron grip over their own populations — all aided and abetted by the U.S. government.”
And even worse, Klaas argued, Trump himself could be using these sales to call in a personal favor from these countries in his post-presidency. “Once Trump leaves the White House, odds are good that he will cash in,” he wrote. “Seen in that light, the recently approved arms sales and military technology transfers are even more worrying. Are they just the beginning of a quid pro quo?”
All of this is occurring as President-elect Joe Biden alleges the Pentagon is obstructing him from getting all of the national security information he requires for the transition — something administration officials deny.
“For the past four years, Trump has painted the image of a United States that consistently sides with tyrants,” concluded Klaas. “Biden now has an opportunity to reverse Trump’s catastrophic foreign policy. He should take it.”
You can read more here.
Trump’s $2,000 Stimulus Talk Could Hand Democrats the Senate Majority
An editorial that ran Monday in the The Wall Street Journal spelled out a Democratic victory in the Senate following President Donald J. Trump’s push for $2,000 stimulus checks.
The WSJ editorial board referred to the move as an “in-kind contribution to Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Joe Biden.”
“Senate Republicans oppose the $2,000 for these sound reasons, but Mr. Trump has put them in a political spot. Democrats immediately joined Mr. Trump’s call for the $2,000, and on Monday they passed the larger amount through the House, 275-134,” the WSJ editorial board wrote.
“That leaves Mr. McConnell with a tough call of barring a vote as Democrats bang away in TV ads in Georgia against GOP incumbents David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. Or he can hold a vote, which would split the GOP caucus and upset fiscally conservative voters,” they continued.
“By all accounts Mr. Trump is angry about his election defeat, and he is lashing out at anyone who won’t indulge his hopeless campaign to overturn it. … Mr. Trump’s narcissism isn’t news,” they wrote. “But if Republicans lose the two Georgia seats and their majority, Republicans across the country should know to thank Mr. Trump for their 2021 tax increase.”
An important notation: The Wall Street Journal has not endorsed a presidential candidate since 1928, but the newspaper’s editorial board — along with other Rupert Murdoch-owned media outlets such as Fox News and the New York Post — has traditionally been favorable to Trump.
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