Former U.S. President Donald Trump told advisors that he wants to enforce a 60-percent tariff on all imports from China if he wins this year’s election, the Washington Post reported on Saturday, quoting three anonymous sources familiar with the plan.
This measure, if implemented, would spark considerable disruptions to the U.S. economy and other economies worldwide, which would far surpass the impact of the “trade war” initiated by Trump during his first presidential term, per the Post, citing economists from both the Democratic and Republican parties.
During his present presidential campaign, Trump has promised to revoke China’s status as a “most favored nation” for trade. This designation applies to almost all nations that do business with the United States, and the White House can introduce any tariffs on imported goods from countries that do not have this status.
According to Trump, tariffs on foreign goods increase crucial revenues for America’s budget, with current import levies among the world’s lowest.
China ranks third in the list of U.S. trading partners, behind Mexico and Canada. In November, Beijing contributed 11.7 percent of total U.S. foreign trade.
Based on analysts polled by the Post, such plans, if implemented, are likely to ignite a global trade war.
“The 2018 to 2019 trade war was immensely damaging, and this would go so far beyond that it’s hard to even compare to that,” Erica York, senior economist at the Tax Foundation, a think tank that opposes these tariffs, told the Post. “This threatens to upend and fragment global trade to an extent we haven’t seen in centuries.”
“If a Trump administration were to put up much higher tariffs on imports from China, American companies would lose most of their market share in both China and many third countries,” said Adam Posen, president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a Washington think tank. Posen called the trade proposals “lunacy.”
Meanwhile, a report by the New York Post has claimed representatives of Donald Trump unsuccessfully asked Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. to be his vice-presidential candidate before a likely run at the White House in this year’s U.S. presidential election.
Citing remarks from an unnamed source close to the former president, the outlet reported that Trump’s team had made “preliminary overtures” to Kennedy — the former Democratic candidate now campaigning as an Independent ahead of the November vote — to be his running mate.
“Trump operatives expressed an interest in Kennedy early on, but it was all premature,” the NY Post said, citing the anonymous source with knowledge of the situation. They added that contact had been made “right out of the box when Bobby announced” his own bid for the White House in April 2023.
Nonetheless, the Post report pointed out that Kennedy rejected the supposed overtures and stated that he would not be keen on joining Trump’s bid to return to the Oval Office. Likewise, a representative for Trump dismissed the story as “fake news” and said that they would “never” seek to join forces with the “radical” RFK, Jr.
That being said, the Trump-Kennedy duo remains a possibility, the Post claimed. “It’s very much behind the scenes at this stage,” the newspaper said, quoting a financial contributor to both Trump and Kennedy. “Bobby can bring new people to the polls.”
Kennedy, 70, is the son of former U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and nephew of former U.S. President John F Kennedy, each of whom was assassinated during the 1960s. He has gained prominence for being a prominent critic of vaccines, in addition to calling for an end to “proxy wars” conducted by the United States. However, Kennedy has gained notoriety among conservatives for being pro-abortion.
It was revealed last summer that Kennedy’s son Conor was fighting on behalf of Ukraine in its conflict with Russia.
Trump presently holds a considerable polling advantage over GOP rival Nikki Haley in the race to secure the Republican Party nomination to contest incumbent Democratic candidate Joe Biden at the ballot box in November.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted last month suggested that an RFK, Jr. independent run would likely draw more support from Biden voters than Trump voters, with 16 percent favoring Kennedy compared to 36 percent for Trump and 31 percent for Biden.
Also, House Speaker Mike Johnson wrote in a post on X on Saturday criticizing Joe Biden over his support for the Senate’s “border deal.”
The president does not need an act of Congress to close the country’s southern border with Mexico, Johnson stated, urging Biden to unilaterally end the record-high number of illegal crossings with executive action and “start by using the broad legal authority he already possesses” to “reverse the catastrophe he has created.”
Starting points could include “ending catch-and-release, ceasing exploitation of parole authority, reinstating the Remain in Mexico program, expanding the use of expedited removal authority, and renewing construction of the border wall,” Johnson added, pointing out that he had already suggested these solutions to Biden several times.
Most of Johnson’s proposed solutions entail reinstating Trump’s policies during his former term as president. Trump is campaigning to return to the White House in 2024 on a platform that includes closing down the border on day one of this presidency and deporting massive numbers of illegals.
Like Johnson, Trump has blasted the notion that Biden needs authorization from Congress to curtail the torrent of illegal immigrants inundating the United States from the south. The former president argued that he did not require “a bill” to secure the border during his own presidency.
Biden praised the legislation on January 26 as “the toughest and fairest set of reforms to secure the border we’ve ever had in our country,” explaining it would provide him “a new emergency authority to shut down the border when it becomes overwhelmed.” The Democrat leader admitted the U.S.-Mexico border was “broken,” declaring that it was “long past time to fix it” and promising to use his new “emergency authority” immediately if the law passed.
Johnson had warned his Republican colleagues in a letter on Friday that the border deal would be “dead on arrival” in the House if the details being reported in the media were accurate. The so-called immigration deal is said to fund border enforcement in exchange for more military aid to Ukraine, which many Republican lawmakers have resisted.
As per the Washington Post, the legislative package will permit up to 5,000 illegal crossings per day before denying new arrivals access to the asylum system, equating to 150,000 unlawful crossings per month, or 1.8 million per year. Migrants caught entering after this number would be immediately deported, and asylum claims would only reopen when daily crossings fall below 3,750.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported a record 302,024 encounters at the southern border in December 2023, with the vast majority — almost 250,000 — occurring between ports of entry, i.e., illegally.
With a background in international relations and history, Angeline enjoys writing about current affairs and socio-cultural trends. She is a contributor to The New American.