Business Community Shocked That Trump Might Impose Import Tariffs

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.


CNN reports that the business community is shocked at the idea that Donald Trump might impose import tariffs when he takes office:

Two sources who represent business interests in Washington tell CNN that the man in line to be White House chief of staff, Reince Preibus, has told key Washington players that one idea being debated internally is a 5% tariff on imports…Priebus, the sources said, was warned such a move could start trade wars, anger allies, and also hurt the new administration’s effort to boost the rate of economic growth right out of the gate.

One of the sources said he viewed the idea as a trial balloon when first raised, and considered it dead on arrival given the strong reaction in the business community—and the known opposition to such protectionist ideas among the GOP congressional leadership. But this source voiced new alarm Tuesday after being told by allies within the Trump transition that defending new tariffs was part of the confirmation “murder board” practice of Wilbur Ross, the President-elect’s choice for commerce secretary.

You know, I mostly feel kind of sorry for all the working-class folks who voted for Trump because they fell for his con. But you know who I don’t feel sorry for? The business community, which largely supported Trump because they thought they were too smart to be conned. He won’t really impose tariffs. He won’t really take revenge on companies that move jobs overseas. He won’t really crack down on all those illegal immigrants we give our dirtiest jobs to.

They just wanted their tax cuts and their pet regulatory changes. They didn’t care about all that racist, nativist, protectionist blather. It was just for show, anyway, wasn’t it? Ha ha ha. Right?

Well, Paul Ryan may save them in the end. We won’t know for a while. But these are rich, educated folks. They knew who Trump was. They knew he was spectacularly unqualified. They knew he was thin-skinned. They knew he was unstable. They knew he was egotistical. They knew he was vengeful. They knew he was dangerous. But they supported him anyway because they wanted their tax cuts. If they eventually find themselves on the business end of Trumponomics, I’m just going to lie back and snicker at them.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.