Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and Donald Trump sparred over Trump’s proposed 45 percent tariff on Chinese exports Thursday at the CNN Republican Debate.
Cruz attacked Trump for being wishy-washy about the details of his tax.
"He proposed earlier a 45 percent tariff on foreign goods. Now he backed away from that immediately, and he may come back with a different number tonight," Cruz said.
He then described the unconsidered impact that Trump’s tax would have on the American people.
"The effect of a 45 percent tariff would be when you go to the store, when you go to Wal-Mart, when you are shopping for your kids, the prices you pay go up 45 percent," Cruz said. "A tariff is a tax on you, the American people."
In response, Trump walked back his proposed tariff, calling it a "threat" and saying that it will only be implemented if China doesn’t "behave."
"The 45 percent tax is a threat. It was not a tax. It was a threat. It will be a tax if they don't behave," Trump said.
He also said that the 45 percent number is negotiable.
"Doesn't have to be 45, it could be less," Trump said, and he made clear that his goal was to build factories and manufacture products in America "rather than buying it through China where we’re being ripped off."
Cruz fired back and again focused Trump’s policy on reality.
"If your wages have been stagnant for 20 years, if you can't pay the bills, how does it help you to have a president come and say, ‘I'm going to put a 45 percent tax on diapers when you buy diapers, on automobiles when you buy automobiles, on clothing when you buy clothing?’" Cruz said.
He urged voters to see beyond campaign rhetoric.
"We've got to get beyond rhetoric of ‘China bad’ and actually get to, how do you solve the problem?" Cruz said. "This solution would hurt jobs and hurt hard-working taxpayers in America."