I Know Why Trump Suddenly Hit Brazil and Argentina With Tariffs

President Trump suddenly announced new steel and aluminum tariffs on Brazil and Argentina today, which he blamed on the “massive devaluation of their currencies.” Vox’s Jen Kirby calls Trump’s reasoning “confusing,” which is very charitable indeed. Both the real and the peso are freely traded, which means they get weaker or stronger depending on their countries’ respective economic conditions, not because their governments have devalued anything. Both currencies have indeed weakened, but that’s because they’re both in pretty bad economic shape:

So why did Trump announce the tariffs? There’s no telling why Trump does anything, but my guess is that it’s mostly for domestic political consumption. Tariffs have fallen out of the news lately and the China talks appear to be going poorly. So he picked a couple of countries that compete with our farmers and announced tariffs. It makes him look tough and that’s all he really cares about.

This is just a guess, but a pretty good one, I suspect.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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