Sources tell Axios' Jonathan Swan that Trump has repeatedly threatened to drop out of the World Trade Organization, which would be a seismic blow to the global system of trade.
"He's [threatened to withdraw] 100 times," one source tells Swan. "It would totally [screw] us as a country."
Trump's economic aides have tried to explain to the president that the United States designed the WTO and that it often uses the organization successfully to protect its economic interests. In fact, Trump's own administration estimates that the U.S. has won roughly 86 percent of the cases it's brought before the WTO -- a significantly higher success rate than China, which has won just 67 percent of the cases it's brought before the WTO.
However, the president won't believe it.
"We always get f*cked by them [the WTO]," the president has regularly said, according to Swan's sources. "I don't know why we're in it. The WTO is designed by the rest of the world to screw the United States."
Despite the president's threats, many American trade representatives believe that withdrawal would create such a profound and immediately negative impact on the American economy that Trump would never actually pull the trigger.
"We think he’s nuts, but not that nuts," one trade attorney tells Swan.