The White House has clarified that President Donald Trump meant he should have raised tariffs on China even higher when he said on Sunday, Aug. 25 that he had second thoughts about scaling up the trade fight against Beijing.
“The president was asked if he had ‘any second thoughts on escalating the trade war with China.’ His answer has been greatly misinterpreted,” White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a statement on Sunday, Aug. 25.
“President Trump responded in the affirmative—because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher,” the Grisham said.
According to Reuters, the White House sought to explain President Trump’s remark after he, during a breakfast meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, was asked if he had any second thoughts about escalating the dispute by announcing another tariff increase on Friday, Aug. 23, to retaliate new levies from China.
“Yeah, sure. Why not?” the president answered a reporter.
When another reporter followed up again, President Trump replied he has “second thoughts about everything.”
His remarks have been misinterpreted by some news media, which reported that the president signaled he had doubts about escalating the trade war and might soften his position.
President Trump on Friday decided to raise retaliatory tariffs by another 5% on some $550 billion in targeted Chinese goods, right after China unveiled tariffs on $75 billion worth of U.S. products.
“Starting on October 1st, the 250 BILLION DOLLARS of goods and products from China, currently being taxed at 25%, will be taxed at 30%,” Trump tweeted. “Additionally, the remaining 300 BILLION DOLLARS of goods and products from China, that was being taxed from September 1st at 10%, will now be taxed at 15%.”
The president also said he ordered U.S. companies to start looking for an alternative to China to do business as well as move operations back to the United States.
Questioned if he would declare a national emergency over the issue, President Trump on Sunday said he has no plan right now, though he had the right to do so because the United States has a total loss of almost a trillion dollars a year … in many ways, and “that’s an emergency.”