Manchin Praises Trump on Tariffs: 'I Like Where the President's Going on This'

March 4, 2018

Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W. Va.) praised President Donald Trump's announcement of new tariffs on aluminum and steel imports, saying Sunday that any concerns about rising costs for Americans were "Wall Street talking."

Trump announced Thursday the U.S. would impose duties of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on imported aluminum, saying it would help rebuild those domestic industries in the U.S. Trump's decision surprised his staff, angered trading partners and sent the stock markets into a dive.

"I like where the president's going on this. I really do," Manchin said in a CBS interview. "We've lost thousands and thousands of jobs [in West Virginia]."

Asked about Trump's proposed numbers by "Face The Nation" host Margaret Brennan, Manchin said he didn't want to get into particulars.

"I think at the end of the day, we'll come to what's responsible," Manchin said. "But if someone's charging the United States of America 25 percent for us to send our goods to their shores, and they're coming into our market at five percent, don't you think it should be tit for tat? It should be basically equal? Free trade hasn't worked well for West Virginia. We've lost thousands of jobs."

"So concerns about trickle-down costs, prices going up for your constituents, you dismiss those," Brennan said.

"That's Wall Street talking," Manchin said. "That's all Wall Street talking ... The people on Main Street are saying, 'We got devastated. We got hurt. We lost good jobs and benefits. We can't compete.'"

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said Sunday there would be "no exclusions" on the tariffs, meaning allies will also be subjected to the Trump-imposed rates.

Trump campaigned on removing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and savaged the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which he has frequently said needs to be renegotiated.

Trump tweeted this week that trade wars are "good" and "easy to win," calling past leaders of the U.S. "fools" because of their "very stupid" trade deals and policies.

Several Republicans have ripped Trump's idea. Sen. Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) called it leftist economic policy and "so much losing," while Senate Finance Chairman and Trump ally Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) called it a "tax hike" the American people can't afford.