On the campaign trail, Candidate Trump promised to drain the swamp in Washington. Last Thursday, the swamp showed how powerful it really is. In a sort of crony-capitalist reality TV broadcast, President Trump, flanked by steel and aluminum executives, granted their requests for tariffs.
The announcement itself — which outlined a plan for 25 percent tariffs on steel and 10 percent on aluminum — was no surprise. Last summer, consistent with his longstanding hostility to free trade and globalization, the president exclaimed, “Tariffs, I want tariffs.”
Mr. Trump, in the White House, summoned steel and aluminum tycoons for a “listening session.” It wasn’t the first time some of America’s top executives came hat in hand to Washington in search of privileges.
But it may have been the first time we got to watch live as an American president announced to the world that he would gladly help handicap our domestic producers’ foreign rivals — by taxing the Americans who buy steel and aluminum imports.
Read more: The Trump Tariffs Will Cost Americans Jobs