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More than 200 footwear companies blast Trump over his job-killing trade war

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President Donald Trump’s new tariffs on China are a “job killer,” US shoe companies warned Wednesday pleading for them to be removed.

In a sharp deterioration in the US-China trade war, Trump last week ramped up the punitive duties for the vast majority of US imports from China.

The five percent increases, which will take the tariffs to 15-25 percent, and are due to roll out in stages through December and target some popular items, such as laptops, mobile phones and some shoes.

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More than 200 footwear manufacturers and retailers, including major brands such as Nike and Foot Locker, signed onto the letter alerting that the new tariffs could cost US consumers an additional $4 billion a year and increase the chances of an economic downturn.

“We’ve been telling the White House since the beginning that tariffs will be paid by Americans in the form of higher prices, and that due to our already high import taxes, this will be a job killer,” Matt Priest, president of the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America, said in a statement.

The group directly disputed Trump’s claim that China is bearing the cost of the tariffs.

“There is no doubt that tariffs act as hidden taxes paid by American individuals and families,” the letter said.

Long a powerful voice in Washington, US industrial lobbies have been unable to persuade Trump to avoid escalating his year-old trade war with China.

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Economists say the friction has begun to sap US business confidence and investment plans, raising the risk of a recession.

The footwear companies agreed, warning in their letter Wednesday that uncertainty caused by the confrontation with Beijing was rattling the wider economy — a sensitive subject as Trump seeks reelection next year.

“An economic downturn will take away disposable income from US consumers, even as they have to pay more for products,” they said.

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Already high US import duties on footwear have continued to rise in recent years even as shoe prices have eased, according to the letter, meaning new tariffs almost certainly will be passed onto consumers.

Trump has blown by turns hot and cold this month, thundering last week that US companies should withdraw from China but optimistically predicting a deal on Monday.

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Trump’s recent, more moderate tone helped stanch bleeding on Wall Street but was quickly met with skepticism by investors since Beijing did not seem to share that optimism.


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MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace chuckles after Times reporter explains why Trump has no hope of pivoting to an empathetic campaign

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MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace struggled to stifle a chuckle in a conversation about President Donald Trump's struggle to run a campaign that can contend with most Americans' needs in a horrific pandemic.

"I think to Nick [Confessore's] point earlier, there should be a sense of nervousness in Trump's camp," began Democratic strategist Basil Smikle. "You don't see -- you talked about enablers. You don't see Republicans engaged in their behavior with respect to the president at this juncture. You're starting to see them not nationalize he's the president of the United States. They should be more allied with him, but instead, they're focused on local campaigns. The president has lost several cases at the Supreme Court, the Affordable Care Act case notwithstanding. There's a lot of things they should be rallying around, but they can't."

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Texas GOP sues Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner over canceled in-person convention

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The gathering, which was estimated to draw around 6,000 people, was set to happen next week in Houston.

The Republican Party of Texas is suing Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and others involved with the canceling of the party's in-person convention, which was scheduled to happen next week.

On Wednesday, Houston First Corporation, the operator of the George R. Brown Convention Center, sent a letter to party officials informing them that the event had been canceled. That cancelation happened after Turner announced he was directing the city's legal department to work with Houston First to review the contract for the event.

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Texas bans elective surgeries in more than 100 counties as coronavirus hospitalizations keep climbing

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Gov. Greg Abbott said the decision is designed to free up more resources to address the pandemic.

With cases of the new coronavirus and related hospitalizations rising at alarming rates, Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday expanded his ban on elective medical procedures to cover more than 100 counties across much of the state.

Surgeries and other procedures that are not “immediately, medically” necessary — which have already been on hold in many of the state’s biggest cities and several South Texas counties — are now barred in much of the state, from far West Texas to much of Central Texas, Southeast Texas and the Gulf Coast.

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