August 17, 2022

Wall St. Journal editorial board just shredded Trump’s “master negotiator” ruse in brutal op-ed

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While President Trump’s policies, including his massive tax cut for the rich, have shown he is no friend of the average person, his whole thrust from the campaign on has been to boost business to pump up the economy and he has claimed, to create jobs.


So when Trump loses the confidence and support of The Wall Street Journal, the leading American business newspaper, which is controlled by Rupert Murdoch one of his close allies, it is a sign that even those he is supposed to be helping are not happy, feeling confused by his actions and fed up with the results of his policies.

In an editorial today titled, “Trump’s Trade Confusion,” the Journal openly expresses its dismay at Trump’s business, economic and business policies. 

“President Trump wants everyone to know he is a master trade negotiator,” the editorial begins, “but this week his volleys look more like a mess than mastery.”

“His China policy is all over the place, Nafta is in jeopardy, and his new threat to impose a 25% tariff on auto imports undercuts his foreign policy and economic goals.”

“But perhaps there’s some grand strategy that will eventually unveil itself and wow the crowds.”

By the end of the editorial, the Journal editors even show that they don’t really believe Trump has a “grand strategy,” using a crude joke to sarcastically slap Trump down.

“As Ronald Reagan liked to joke about the boy who saw a stable full of manure,” jokes the Journal editors, “there must be a pony in there somewhere.”

Then they make clear what they really think,

“Or maybe all this is merely a pile of impulsive, ill-considered threats that are increasing business uncertainty, slowing the economy, and irritating friends the U.S. needs on Iran and Korea.”

The threats the Journal editors are discussing include the bizarre trade discussions with China that have been going on for weeks, the stalled negotiations over NAFTA, the threat to put a huge tariff on imported autos – even those made by American companies – and the trade war Trump has started with our closest allies in Europe that is already leading to massive retaliation tariffs on American products,

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Nowhere is what the Journal calls Trump’s “trade confusion” more apparent than with his negotiations with China that have the stated purpose of lessening the huge annual trade imbalance. 

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In relation to China, the Journal cites Trump’s “lack of strategy or defined goals” in “the President’s seesaw on China this week.”

“On Monday,” notes the Journal, “he boasted that a weekend deal to withdraw tariffs was ‘one of the best things to happen to our farmers in many years!'”

“The next day he complained that he was ‘not satisfied’” then tweeted Wednesday that ‘Our Trade Deal with China is moving along nicely, but in the end we will probably have to use a different structure in that this will be too hard to get done and to verify results after completion.'”

“Glad he cleared that up,” the Journal editors add, dripping with sarcasm. 

They are particularly displeased by his interference in the auto market where this week the Commerce Department initiated an investigation of whether auto import imperils national security, under the same 1962 Trump used to justify tariffs on steel and aluminum.

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“The auto investigation is even more dubious.,” opines the Journal.

American automakers are not asking and don’t want Trump to interfere in their business, notes the Journal, at a time 56 percent of cars sold in the U.S. (in 2017) are made here. 

“Mr. Trump’s tirades against foreign carmakers are also misdirected.,” writes the Journal, noting 70 percent of the most popular cars with foreign labels are actually made or assembled in the U.S., mostly in Southern states with lower labor costs – states that voted for Trump.

The Journal believes Trump’s threat of imposing a 25 percent tariff on the importing of American cars to America – which would add over $5,000 to the price of most cars – is actually just an effort to gain leverage in trade negotiations.

That is especially true of the NAFTA talks where Canada and Mexico have balked at Trump negotiators demands which are so out of line they could, says the Journal, “scuttle hope of any deal.”

So the so-called master of The Art Of The Deal is a dope who is messing with longtime and very successful trade relationships, sending mixed signals to allies like Germany France and Italy, confusing delicate relations with China and threatening to send the U.S. plunging into a recession or worse economic disaster, 

Most Americans already know Trump can’t be trusted to protect their health insurance, maintain the safety net for the needy, protect the environment or provide for the arts, but now it turns out he isn’t even very good at business, the one thing he is supposed to do best.

Benjamin Locke

Benjamin Locke is a retired college professor with an undergraduate degree in Industrial Labor and Relations from Cornell University and an MBA from the European School of Management.

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