Continetti: ‘President Trump Understands the Economic Power of the United States in a Way Many Other American Politicians Do Not’

September 2, 2018

Washington Free Beacon editor-in-chief Matthew Continetti said President Donald Trump understands America’s economic power differently than other politicians during an appearance on MSNBC’s "Meet the Press."

Continetti’s comment came during a discussion of trade policy and a recently renegotiated trade agreement with Mexico. Trump announced earlier this week that the United States and Mexico had reached a tentative trade agreement, and added that he would be terminating the existing NAFTA arrangement.

The revised deal did not include Canada, although the president said trade negotiations with America’s northern neighbor would begin "pretty much immediately."

Trade tensions between the United States and Canada increased after the Toronto Star newspaper quoted Trump as saying he would sign a deal only if it was "totally on our terms." Nevertheless, Canada’s chief negotiator, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, said she felt the Trump administration was negotiating in "good faith" and believed "a win-win-win agreement is within reach."

Continetti said the key to Trump’s recent trade negotiations was concentrating on Mexico and leaving Canada to one side. "I think the key decision was freezing Canada out and then negotiating directly with Mexico."

"Once that agreement was basically negotiated then Canada was in the position having to join or else what are they going to do?" Continetti continued. "President Trump understands the economic power of the United States in a way many other American politicians do not."

Continetti pointed out that Trump’s willingness to brandish America’s economic power is working elsewhere. "It also seems to be working in Turkey; it seems to be working in Iran; it seems to be working in Russia where the sanctions are really hurting the Russian economy as well. So this idea of economic coercion, I think, is new to President Trump, and it’s a tool that I think has become useful to the United States."

Turkey’s lira has suffered in the wake of U.S. sanctions and tariffs instituted in response to the imprisonment of American pastor Andrew Brunson. A Business Insider report from April said U.S. sanctions on Russia hit it "where it hurts."

"The US sanctions list on Putin cronies hits the bullseye of the Putin regime," wrote one human rights activist.