Harrington: Trump Tariffs Are a Campaign Promise Met, Will Be a Political Winner

Washington Free Beacon reporter Elizabeth Harrington said President Donald Trump's tariffs on aluminum and steel imports would be a winner politically, saying dire predictions about Trump administration policies have been consistently wrong.

Trump held a White House signing ceremony on Thursday as he proclaimed duties of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, saying it was long past time to protect those domestic industries.

Trump's tariffs scrambled the political landscape. His announcement won praise from the likes of union leader Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO, and Rust Belt Democratic Senators like Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) and Joe Manchin (D., W. Va.).

On the other hand, it drew criticism from Republicans, who said it could spark a trade war and amount to a tax hike on American consumers. White House economic adviser Gary Cohn, who was against the tariffs, resigned this week.

"I'm usually skeptical when it comes to these dire predictions when it comes to any Trump administration policy, because we know they haven't exactly panned out," Harrington said on Fox News. "I think there will be some economic effects to this, but in the long run, we shouldn't be surprised, because this is what Trump said he was going to do."

One of Trump's chief campaign themes was strong opposition to free trade policies like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the North American Free Trade Agreement, which proved appealing in states he carried in 2016 like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

"All those voters in the Rust Belt, they voted for him because he promised to do these things," Harrington said. "This is a campaign promise met. I think it's a win for him politically, because he said he was going to protect American workers. He said he wanted to address the $800 billion trade deficit. This is what he's doing."

Trump's surprise announcement of the tariffs last week sent the stock markets into a brief plunge, but they rose Thursday afternoon after the news that Canada and Mexico would be exempted.