Ricochet Member Recommended FeedRecommended by R> Members

Trump Blinks

 

Under increasing pressure from the fallout of the trade war with China, it looks like President Trump may be walking back one of his campaign promises:

WASHINGTON—One year after withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, President Donald Trump has asked his top economic advisers to study the possibility of re-entering the trade pact negotiations.

Trump has deputized Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative, and Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, to study the possibility of re-entering the TPP if the terms were favorable, the president told a group of lawmakers on Thursday.

The president’s new openness toward the TPP, which he had said during his campaign was a deal “pushed by special interests who want to rape our country,” comes as he is facing criticism from farmers for his escalating trade battle with China. After Trump took aim at China with new steel and aluminum tariffs, Beijing responded by announcing it would place penalties on a list of agricultural products that would affect swaths of the president’s political base.

As a matter of policy, this is a big win in the column for “Good Trump” — it’s absolutely the right policy move from both an economic or foreign policy perspective. As a political matter, it remains to be seen how his base, vehemently opposed to most trade deals, will take the news that the President is going against them on one of his core campaign promises.

Published in Economics
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 170 comments.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  1. Thatcher

    Not sure how this is an issue with his base. His whole shtick is that the current deals were bad and he would get better ones. This is only bad if he takes the same deal or a worse deal.

    • #1
    • April 12, 2018 at 3:46 pm
    • 23 likes
  2. Contributor

    Yeah. Until tomorrow when he reverses and changes his mind, and calls the reports “fake news.”

    • #2
    • April 12, 2018 at 3:47 pm
    • 5 likes
  3. Member

    Jamie Lockett: if the terms were favorable

    Isn’t this a pretty big qualifier? Seems like this had always been his position on a number of trade issues.

    • #3
    • April 12, 2018 at 4:08 pm
    • 10 likes
  4. Thatcher

    I am in the “if we get a better deal, I am all for it” camp. 

    His supporters are not going to see this as a “blink” no matter how much anti-Trumpers want them too. Just like his supporters don’t care if he had an affair. 

     

    • #4
    • April 12, 2018 at 4:10 pm
    • 20 likes
  5. Member

    Better headline: Trump Learns.

    Jay Nordlinger frequently mentions this anecdote from Phil Gramm on his podcasts:

    Phil Gramm once explained to Bill Buckley why he never talked about free trade on the stump — he, a professor of economics and a free-marketeer: It wasn’t worth the trouble. “Free trade benefits almost everybody,” said Gramm. “But they don’t know who they are. Free trade hurts a few, and they all know who they are.”

    I think President Trump wants to do what is best for America – he loves this country – and this story is a good reminder of that.

    Edit: you can say he blinked, but I don’t think Trump cares. Stuff the politics – do what helps America.

    • #5
    • April 12, 2018 at 4:10 pm
    • 19 likes
  6. Reagan
    Jamie Lockett Post author

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    Jamie Lockett: if the terms were favorable

    Isn’t this a pretty big qualifier? Seems like this had always been his position on a number of trade issues.

    Yes that term is sufficiently vague as to allow the President the wiggle room to vacillate and claim victory when inconsequential changes are made. Curious that he never articulated the concrete reasons why TPP was bad

    Having actually read most of TPP over a year ago (I skipped the thousands upon thousands of pages of tariff schedules) it consists of eliminating most tariffs and bringing other countries in line with US IP and environmental law. So how, pray tell will you make it more favorable?

    Actually, it doesn’t matter. Even if he signs it for bad or stupid reasons, he’s still doing the right thing. 

    • #6
    • April 12, 2018 at 4:18 pm
    • 7 likes
  7. Contributor

     

    I hasten to point out that Donald Trump, whose strategic brilliance means he will get a better deal, has only just now realized that American participation in the TPP will be to American strategic advantage against China. 

    • #7
    • April 12, 2018 at 4:20 pm
    • 12 likes
  8. Thatcher

    Fred Cole (View Comment):

     

    I hasten to point out that Donald Trump, whose strategic brilliance means he will get a better deal, has only just now realized that American participation in the TPP will be to American strategic advantage against China.

    I think this is true, and so it may be a move to put pressure on China on trade negotiations.

    • #8
    • April 12, 2018 at 4:27 pm
    • Like
  9. Thatcher

    Fred Cole (View Comment):

     

    I hasten to point out that Donald Trump, whose strategic brilliance means he will get a better deal, has only just now realized that American participation in the TPP will be to American strategic advantage against China.

    Also, a China countermove was signaled when Xi met with the North Korean Rocketman, over whom he has a lot of leverage. Is there ultimately a deal involving China and the US in which they are leverage North Korea and the TPP as bargaining chips?

    • #9
    • April 12, 2018 at 4:30 pm
    • Like
  10. Contributor

    Gumby Mark (View Comment):

    Fred Cole (View Comment):

     

    I hasten to point out that Donald Trump, whose strategic brilliance means he will get a better deal, has only just now realized that American participation in the TPP will be to American strategic advantage against China.

    Also, a China countermove was signaled when Xi met with the North Korean Rocketman, over whom he has a lot of leverage. Is there ultimately a deal involving China and the US in which they are leverage North Korea and the TPP as bargaining chips?

    No. There’s no grand master plan. There’s no strategy. That’s not how Donald Trump operates. It’s just chaos and whatever comes into his head at any moment. 

    • #10
    • April 12, 2018 at 4:36 pm
    • 7 likes
  11. Member

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    I am in the “if we get a better deal, I am all for it” camp.

    His supporters are not going to see this as a “blink” no matter how much anti-Trumpers want them too. Just like his supporters don’t care if he had an affair.

    His supporters don’t care about anything he does that shows he is not an upstanding individual. Policy is all that matters to them. Well, this is one policy where he has backed down. And I say, “Good for him”. He has always favored bilateral deals. Why you can’t admit that he can change his mind, and that we Trump Skeptics are able to give him credit for it, is beyond me.

    • #11
    • April 12, 2018 at 4:38 pm
    • 7 likes
  12. Thatcher

    Fred Cole (View Comment):

    Gumby Mark (View Comment):

    Fred Cole (View Comment):

     

    I hasten to point out that Donald Trump, whose strategic brilliance means he will get a better deal, has only just now realized that American participation in the TPP will be to American strategic advantage against China.

    Also, a China countermove was signaled when Xi met with the North Korean Rocketman, over whom he has a lot of leverage. Is there ultimately a deal involving China and the US in which they are leverage North Korea and the TPP as bargaining chips?

    No. There’s no grand master plan. There’s no strategy. That’s not how Donald Trump operates. It’s just chaos and whatever comes into his head at any moment.

    On some matters I would agree with you, but on this if I look at his trade team, the new NSA, and the timing of this news it may actually be strategery!

    • #12
    • April 12, 2018 at 4:39 pm
    • 5 likes
  13. Contributor

    Gumby Mark (View Comment):

    Fred Cole (View Comment):

    Gumby Mark (View Comment):

    Fred Cole (View Comment):

     

    I hasten to point out that Donald Trump, whose strategic brilliance means he will get a better deal, has only just now realized that American participation in the TPP will be to American strategic advantage against China.

    Also, a China countermove was signaled when Xi met with the North Korean Rocketman, over whom he has a lot of leverage. Is there ultimately a deal involving China and the US in which they are leverage North Korea and the TPP as bargaining chips?

    No. There’s no grand master plan. There’s no strategy. That’s not how Donald Trump operates. It’s just chaos and whatever comes into his head at any moment.

    On some matters I would agree with you, but on this if I look at his trade team, the new NSA, and the timing of this news it may actually be strategery!

    Right. Just like the Syria stuff is just strategy. 

    • #13
    • April 12, 2018 at 4:50 pm
    • 2 likes
  14. Member

    Good. The TPP is one of the best chances for a bulwark against increased Chinese power in the Pacific Rim.

    • #14
    • April 12, 2018 at 4:52 pm
    • 11 likes
  15. Coolidge

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    I am in the “if we get a better deal, I am all for it” camp.

    He is in no position to “get a better deal.” The deal is signed by every 11 countries, it’s not up for renegotiating the basic terms of the deal.

    What I think has happened is Trump is realizing what everyone else knew all along, TPP was designed to isolate China, so if you want a trade war with China, TPP was your best weapon.

    • #15
    • April 12, 2018 at 4:54 pm
    • 9 likes
  16. Thatcher

    George Townsend (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    I am in the “if we get a better deal, I am all for it” camp.

    His supporters are not going to see this as a “blink” no matter how much anti-Trumpers want them too. Just like his supporters don’t care if he had an affair.

    His supporters don’t care about anything he does that shows he is not an upstanding individual. Policy is all that matters to them. Well, this is one policy where he has backed down. And I say, “Good for him”. He has always favored bilateral deals. Why you can’t admit that he can change his mind, and that we Trump Skeptics are able to give him credit for it, is beyond me.

    Not policy, actions. 

    • #16
    • April 12, 2018 at 4:56 pm
    • 2 likes
  17. Thatcher

    A-Squared (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    I am in the “if we get a better deal, I am all for it” camp.

    He is is no position to “get a better deal.” The deal is signed by every 11 countries, it’s not up for renegotiating the basic terms of the deal.

    What I think has happened is Trump is realizing what everyone else knew all along, TPP was designed to isolate China, so if you want a trade war with China, TPP was your best weapon.

    So people keep asserting. 

    • #17
    • April 12, 2018 at 4:56 pm
    • 2 likes
  18. Coolidge

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):
    Edit: you can say he blinked, but I don’t think Trump cares. Stuff the politics – do what helps America.

    I agree with this. Except that Trump supporters said people whose supported TPP hated America. If Trump joins TPP, his supporters will say that people who oppose TPP hate America. 

    Maybe the lesson here is that Trump’s opinion this very minute on any given topic is not the final word on how a person who loves America thinks. Naw. Can’t be. Never mind. 

    • #18
    • April 12, 2018 at 4:59 pm
    • 8 likes
  19. Reagan

    Literally the best news I’ve heard in weeks.

    • #19
    • April 12, 2018 at 5:01 pm
    • 9 likes
  20. Contributor

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    Literally the best news I’ve heard in weeks.

    Until he reverses himself in 12 hours and calls it all fake news. 

    • #20
    • April 12, 2018 at 5:04 pm
    • 4 likes
  21. Thatcher

    A-Squared (View Comment):
    Maybe the lesson here is that Trump’s opinion this very minute on any given topic is not the final word on how a person who loves America thinks. Naw. Can’t be. Never mind. 

    I am not sure I have seen anyone here actually make that argument, ever, so the sarcasam is odd. 

    • #21
    • April 12, 2018 at 5:04 pm
    • 7 likes
  22. Member

    Sounds fishy …. better get Mueller on it ASAP!

     

    • #22
    • April 12, 2018 at 5:08 pm
    • 3 likes
  23. Coolidge

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    A-Squared (View Comment):
    Maybe the lesson here is that Trump’s opinion this very minute on any given topic is not the final word on how a person who loves America thinks. Naw. Can’t be. Never mind.

    I am not sure I have seen anyone here actually make that argument, ever, so the sarcasam is odd.

    I’ve certainly been told on here that I must not love America because I was critical of Trump.

    • #23
    • April 12, 2018 at 5:08 pm
    • 6 likes
  24. Reagan
    Jamie Lockett Post author

    If a Trump supporter could point out what was bad in the TPP deal months ago when Trump pulled out that has now changed to make it a “better” deal that would be very helpful. 

    • #24
    • April 12, 2018 at 5:10 pm
    • 7 likes
  25. Thatcher

    Ricochet has discussed international trade and such so many times.

    Without addressing the issue of balance of trade at all, if we can get rid of the extranational bureaucratic organization that is set up in the TPP to administer and regulate that would be a tremendous improvement. Or controls over immigration into the USA. Or hamstringing US tech companies from projects in participating third world countries.

    • #25
    • April 12, 2018 at 5:16 pm
    • 2 likes
  26. Member

    I agree with you 100% on this, Jamie, as I’ve said elsewhere! And now, it sounds like I may agree with Donald Trump on TPP. TPP will not only serve the interests of consumers, it will give small Asian countries an alternative to Chinese domination of the Western Pacific region. It also gives us more leverage in trade negotiations with China, because I think it’s reasonable to assume that we will be able to buy many goods from other countries in the Asia Pacific that we are currently buying from China. There’s no reason to be against TPP. I should have written this post. I’m just sorry that you beat me to it, Jamie. Well done, by the way!

    • #26
    • April 12, 2018 at 5:25 pm
    • 6 likes
  27. Member

    Now, we just need to take out the North Korean regime with a sneak attack. Then, we can deal with Assad. What a great week!

    • #27
    • April 12, 2018 at 5:32 pm
    • 1 like
  28. Reagan

    This could be very good news.

    If only Nixon could go to China, perhaps only Trump could pass the TPP.

    • #28
    • April 12, 2018 at 5:58 pm
    • 2 likes
  29. Member

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    George Townsend (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    I am in the “if we get a better deal, I am all for it” camp.

    His supporters are not going to see this as a “blink” no matter how much anti-Trumpers want them too. Just like his supporters don’t care if he had an affair.

    His supporters don’t care about anything he does that shows he is not an upstanding individual. Policy is all that matters to them. Well, this is one policy where he has backed down. And I say, “Good for him”. He has always favored bilateral deals. Why you can’t admit that he can change his mind, and that we Trump Skeptics are able to give him credit for it, is beyond me.

    Not policy, actions.

    Sorry Bryan, you lose – again. If it is true that he is now in favor of a TPP deal, that means that he has been persuaded that his actions must change. He was wrong before. Instead of applauding that, you are trying to bend over backwards and other way in order to convince yourself that he has not changed. He has changed on many things, because the things he said during the campaign were idiotic. Face it, man, this time I am applauding him, while you refuse to face a new reality!

    • #29
    • April 12, 2018 at 6:07 pm
    • 6 likes
  30. Member

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    A-Squared (View Comment):
    Maybe the lesson here is that Trump’s opinion this very minute on any given topic is not the final word on how a person who loves America thinks. Naw. Can’t be. Never mind.

    I am not sure I have seen anyone here actually make that argument, ever, so the sarcasam is odd.

    Except this very subject – trade. Although you seem unwilling and/or unable to admit it, one can get whiplash trying to keep up with his positions on trade.

    • #30
    • April 12, 2018 at 6:13 pm
    • 1 like
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6