David Stockman, Ronald Reagan’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, on Thursday called Donald Trump the “biggest sucker” for listening to steel industry “crybabies” and “their tails of woe.”
Stockman was speaking with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer about Trump’s decision to levy tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, a proclamation the president will reportedly sign Thursday. Stockman called the tariffs a “fig leaf for rank protectionism” that focuses on the “wrong industry” for the U.S. economy.
“I know you’ve been working on these issues for decades, what does it say that the administration has had such a rocky rollout of these tariffs?” Blitzer asked Stockman.
“It’s typical,” Stockman replied. “The steel industry are the crybabies of the beltway lobby farm. They gang tackle every new president that comes in with their tale of woe, and in this case they’ve got the biggest sucker yet.”
“This whole thing is a giant mistake,” he added.
Stockman explained “steel is the least of our problems,” declaring, “the argument that we need this for national defense is actually ludicrous.”
“This is a figure leaf for rank protectionism that’s focused on the wrong industry because there’s so much excess capacity for steel in the world that there will never be a shortage, and we’re just barking up the wrong tree,” Stockman later said. “The problem isn’t bad trade deals, the problem is bad money at the Federal Reserve System and in the central banks of the countries that have been suppressing their exchange rates. that’s the problem.”
Asked by Blitzer who he was calling the “biggest sucker,” Stockman replied, “the one in the Oval Office.”
“That’s the one I’m talking about,” Stockman said. “I mean, somehow he thinks that a 17th century version of mercantilist trade policy is going to make America grow again. That isn’t remotely correct, and he should be focusing on the problem.”
Watch below, via CNN: