Trump Lies About His Trade War with China: A Closer Look

-The president is ratcheting up
his trade war with China and lying about what it means for American companies
and consumers. For more on this,
it’s time for “A Closer Look.” [ Cheers and applause ] ♪♪ When it comes to foreign policy, there are two things we know
about Donald Trump. He wants to be liked by everyone and he has no idea what he’s
talking about. That’s why his description
of how he would conduct himself in office was always
so incoherent. During the campaign,
for example, Trump insisted both that
as a businessman, he could have good relationships
with everybody and also that, as a nation,
we should be unpredictable. -As a businessman, I get along
with everybody. I have business
all over the world. We must, as a nation, be more
unpredictable. We are totally predictable. We have to be unpredictable. -No. You can’t get along
with everybody and also be unpredictable. Nobody likes
their unpredictable friend. Trump’s like guy
who won’t respond to texts when you ask him for a ride
to the airport, but then he shows up at your
door at 3:00 a.m. with a handle of vodka
and a duffel bag. And when you say, “Go home,”
he’s like, [ As Trump ] “I can’t. I got
stoned and sold my apartment.” [ Laughter ] [ Normal voice ]
Now we’re seeing what Trump’s unpredictability
looks like when it comes to imposing
tariffs on China. China retaliated this week
with tariffs and the escalating trade wars
hurt farmers and sent the stock market
plummeting. And yet, Trump has repeatedly
shrugged it off, claiming our economy is strong
enough to handle a trade war and insisting it’s not
that big of a deal. -So the economy is doing
very well by every measure. We are having probably
the greatest economy that we have had anywhere, anytime in the history
of our country. We are having a little squabble
with China because we have been treated
very unfairly for many, many decades. -A little squabble
is not how you describe a trade war with the world’s
second largest economy. That’s language your dad uses
when he explains why he’s been sleeping in
a motel for the past few weeks. “Your mom and I are having
a little squabble over a photo of daddy
at a big boys’ party with a lady
who popped out of a cake. [ Laughter ] It’s a squabble.
It’ll be over soon.” Even some Democrats have been
in favor of using tariffs as a temporary tool to get a
long-term deal with China that helps American workers. But one of those Democrats,
Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, expressed concern that Trump
was using the tariffs as a permanent solution. -I am very concerned
that the president has not understood that tariffs need to be a short-term tool
to get to a long-term policy. He seems to think the tariffs
are the policy. -Yeah. Tariffs are supposed
to be a temporary punishment, not a permanent solution. It’s like if your kid
doesn’t do their chores, you send them to their room
for an hour. You don’t make them live there
for 30 years. That’s probably why these two looks like they have
never seen the daylight. [ Laughter ] And then…
[ Cheers and applause ] -…there are the Republicans who have traditionally
opposed tariffs and supported free trade. Suddenly those Republicans
have gone very quiet. And even when they express
mild concern to Trump, their message
doesn’t seem to get through, like Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley who represents a lot of farmers
hurt by Trump’s tariffs. Grassley told
“The Washington Post” yesterday that he planned to write
a letter to Trump to explain the concerns
of farmers because he felt the argument
he had repeatedly made to the president in person
was not registering. I’m not sure if you
talk to him face to face he hears everything you say. And I do believe he doesn’t hear
everything face to face. I mean, have you ever seen
the way he looks in a meeting when someone else is talking? He hates it so much,
he literally hugs himself as a calming mechanism. [ As Trump ]
Don’t worry, Donald. The bad man will be done soon, and then it will be your turn
to make noise with your mouth. [ Laughter ] [ Cheers and applause ] [ Normal voice ]
So now Trump has us mired in a damaging trade war with the world’s
second largest economy that’s pissing off both parties
and has no end in sight. But as usual, he keeps insisting that even though he
and the president of China are fighting,
they still get along great. -The relationship I have with
President Xi is extraordinary. It’s really very good, but he’s for China,
and I’m for the USA. -And honestly, I’m just relieved
he knows what side he’s on. Trump’s like a kid
in a youth soccer game who gets confused about
what team he’s on and kicks it into the wrong goal and Republicans are like
the helicopter parents on the sideline
who cheer for him anyway. “Yes, Bradley,
you choose whatever goal you feel comfortable with!” But you’ve got to give it
to Trump. You’ve got to give it to Trump. He might not know
how tariffs work, but he definitely knows which
country he is the president of. -President Xi,
he’s a friend of mine. And I’m a friend of his
and I like him a lot, but he’s representing China, and I’m representing
the United States of America. President Xi is for China.
And I’m for the United States. He’s representing China, and I’m
representing the United States. He represents China.
I represent the USA. He likes China,
and I like the United States. He’s for China. I’m for us. President Xi,
he’s a friend of mine, but he likes China. I like the USA. -We all know that! This is like if Steph Curry held
a post-game press conference and just went,
“I play for the Warriors. James Harden plays
for the Rockets. Goodbye.” [ Laughter ] Now tariffs are basically — basically tariffs are a tax
on imports from that country. So the American companies
importing those goods pay the tax, and they often
end up passing that tax on to consumers, and yet Trump
keeps repeating the lie that China will pay the tariffs rather than American companies
and consumers. He did it again last week
while simultaneously claiming once again that he has
a great relationship with the president of China. -We were getting very close
to a deal. Then they started
to renegotiate the deal. We can’t have that.
We can’t have that. So our country can take in
$120 billion a year in tariffs paid for mostly by China,
by the way, not by us. A lot of people try and steer it
in a different direction. Ultimately, it’s paid for
largely by China. -Do you have plans to talk to
President Xi, or no, not yet? -Well, he just wrote me
a beautiful letter. I just received it, and I’ll
probably speak to him by phone. -Okay. First of all, you’ll
probably speak to him by phone? If someone sends you
a beautiful letter, you call them. That is just basic etiquette. One time, my grandma sent me
a birthday card. I didn’t call her right away,
and later that day, I got another card slipped under
my door that said, “No phone call?” And she included a bill
for the $5. Second,
Trump has the weird thing where he’s obsessed with getting
beautiful letters from people. He said it multiple times
about everyone from Kim Jong-un
to Vladimir Putin to the former Director
of National Intelligence, James Clapper,
and even President Obama shortly after he took office. -“James Clapper, who famously
got caught lying to Congress, is now an authority
on Donald Trump. Will he show you his beautiful
letter to me?” -Putin even sent me a present, a beautiful present
with a beautiful note. -A letter was given to me
by Kim Jong-un, and that letter
was a very nice letter. Oh, would you like to see
what was in that letter. -I just showed a letter
that I received just yesterday from Chairman Kim which
is an extraordinary letter. -I just went to the oval office and found this beautiful letter
from President Obama. -This was the letter given to me by President Obama. It was long. It was complex. It was thoughtful. -[ As Trump ] And I didn’t
understand a word of it. [ Laughter ] I just know… [ Cheers and applause ] I just know it was… It was shaped like this. [ Normal voice ]
His obsession with letters makes him sound like
a Civil War wife. [ Older Southern accent ] I just
got the most beautiful letter from Beauregard. [ Laughter ] [ Normal voice ]
Also, why is Trump always carrying
these letters around? Is that why his coat’s
always so bulky? He’s just packed full of mail
everywhere he goes? Terrible president, but he’d
make a great mailman. I can totally see him —
shorts, high socks, tugging around a mail sack. [ Cheers and applause ] But the important part
of that clip is the part where Trump claimed
that China and not the U.S. companies
would pay the tariff. It’s a lie he’s been repeating
for years. And on Sunday,
Fox host Chris Wallace got Trump’s chief economic
advisor, Larry Kudlow, to admit that it was a lie. -It’s not China that pays
tariffs. It’s the American importers, the American companies
that pay what, in effect, is a tax increase, and oftentimes, passes it on
to U.S. consumers. -Fair enough. In fact,
both sides will pay. Both sides will pay in these
things, and, of course — -If it’s a tariff on goods
coming into the country, the Chinese aren’t paying. -No. But the Chinese
will suffer GDP losses and so forth with respect
to a diminishing export market and goods that they may need
for their own — -I understand that,
but the president says China pays for the tariffs. They may suffer consequences, but it’s U.S. businesses and U.S. consumers who pay,
correct? -Yes, to some extent.
I don’t disagree with that. -Oh, Larry, you just admitted that Trump is a liar
on Fox News. You’re gonna have to
apologize to him, and I have a feeling I know
how you’ll do it. [ As Trump ] I just got
the most beautiful letter. Larry Kudlow says
I’m not a liar. Let me just find it
here in my mail coat. This one’s from Putin. Obama. Oh! Pottery Barn. [ Laughter ] [ Normal voice ]
So Trump’s antagonizing China in a costly trade war
that no one wants, Democrats and Republicans
are both unhappy, and the stock market
is plummeting. And it really seems like Trump is feeling increasingly isolated because during a speech to
workers in Louisiana yesterday, he went out of his way to insist that the U.S. doesn’t need
any help from other countries. -You are not only making
our nation wealthier, but you are making America safer by building a future
of American energy independence. We are independent.
We don’t need anybody. We don’t need anybody. -Oh, boy. Really feels like
he’s projecting there. Should be eating out of a tub
of ice cream on his sofa talking to his cat. [ As Trump ]
We don’t need anybody. Isn’t that right, Mike Pence? [ Laughter ] [ Applause ] Oh. Oh, that’s a good boy. Oh, you’re a good boy. You’re a good boy, Mike Pence.
Yes. People say you’re a boring,
dead-eyed cat, but I love you, Mike Pence. [ Laughter ] [ Normal voice ]
Even on his core issue, the thing that he claimed
he’d be able to fix, Trump has no strategy
and no idea what he’s doing. He spent two years
talking about trade with China, and he’s gotten nowhere. All we have are costly tariffs and the only thing Trump
knows for sure is… -He likes China. I like the USA. -This has been “A Closer Look.” [ Cheers and applause ] ♪♪

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