Trump became ‘unglued’ and started a trade war on impulse

US President Donald Trump in the White House after meeting with steel industry representatives last week. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images
  • President Donald Trump reportedly announced new tariffs on Thursday on key imports out of anger, according to NBC News.
  • Several developments this week, including the departure of one of his top advisers and intensifying coverage of Jared Kushner’s foreign business dealings, are believed to have contributed to Trump’s frustrations.
  • The new measures would impose a 25% tax on imported steel and 10% on aluminium.

President Donald Trump reportedly went ahead with plans to impose strict tariffs on steel and aluminium imports into the US without an official endorsement from his own staff because he was angry, NBC News reported Friday, speaking to two Trump administration officials.

One of the officials described Trump’s behaviour as “unglued,” per the NBC report.

Trump has reportedly been fuming over several developments this week, including:

  • The resignation of Hope Hicks, one of his closest advisers;
  • The effective demotion of his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, whose top secret security clearance was rescinded;
  • Reports of Kushner’s foreign business dealings while working in the White House.

Amid these events, Trump announced Thursday that he would impose new tariffs – taxes on imports – of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium. The unexpected announcement prompted other nations and international organisations, including allies like Canada and the European Union, to warn of retaliatory measures.

The US market reacted sharply to the news Thursday and Friday. The Dow Jones industrial average ended down about 70 points Friday.

Some Republicans, including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, appealed to Trump to reconsider his decision.

“I respectfully ask @POTUS to reconsider his position on steel and aluminium tariffs,” Walker said in a tweet. “They will lead to the exact opposite outcome of the administration’s stated objective, which is to protect American jobs.”

Despite the pushback, Trump doubled down on his decision in several tweets on Friday.

“When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win,” Trump said. “Example, when we are down $US100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade anymore-we win big. It’s easy!”