Two leading officials in President Trump’s cabinet, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have privately been warning senior trade officials that the president’s steel and aluminum tariffs would endanger national security.
The ironic thing is, Trump defended the tariffs by invoking a “rarely used national security provision of trade law.”
Trump’s Director of Economic Council, Gary Cohn, even resigned because of the tariffs, saying not only would national security be threatened but our allies would retaliate to the point where the nation’s economy would be unduly impacted.
Per the Times:
“Cohn told others tariffs would be incredibly disruptive to the economy, and Mattis also argued that there wasn’t a national security case to make for blocking steel and aluminum imports from U.S. allies like Canada and Europe.
White House legislative director Marc Short also tried to warn Trump of the negative blowback, bringing in a parade of GOP lawmakers who held firm free-trade views and worried about major changes like tariffs. Mattis argued internally that the tariffs did not have a national security purpose and would be opposed by allies. Tillerson was also skeptical of the need. White House officials told Trump that Cohn and Navarro were using faulty information.
But, Trump didn’t listen.
CNN recently ran a segment documenting Trump’s allies as being increasingly worried about him.
They say that he is “spiraling, lashing out, out of control. Trump keeps blaming everybody else for his problems, and then he confuses people on what side of an issue he is going to be on, and so the whole thing just seems to be growing just a little too chaotic.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is hesitant to attack Trump publicly, refused to answer last week whether or not he called the president “a moron.” The interview was pretty damaging because even though he didn’t say it, he basically implied that he couldn’t because it was true.
Here was Tillerson’s first response: You know, that’s a really old question. He then gave a little smirk.
60 Minutes: You understand by not answering the question, some people thought you were confirming the story.
Tillerson: I think I’ve answered the question.
60 Minutes: You think you’ve answered the question?
Tillerson: I’ve answered the question.
60 Minutes: Did you call the president a moron?
Tillerson: I’m not going to dignify the question.
At this point, you can almost hear the crickets in the room.