On Saturday, former Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) appeared on CNN to warn that President Donald Trump's economic actions — particularly his trade war — are having a devastating effect.
"I think the president ought to be concerned about the economy," said Dent. "I don't think that most are predicting any type of recession, but they are predicting a slower economy moving forward in 2020 at the very least."
"I think the best thing the president could do to calm markets, and also make investors feel better, is ceasing and desisting from this multi-front trade war," said Dent. "I just met with two CEOs of midsize manufacturers who are alarmed. This is costing them tens of millions of dollars. It brings about greater uncertainty, greater unpredictability. They can't plan. It's affecting them very negatively. They will tell you this."
Dent gave examples of how Trump's policies are a mess.
"The USMCA, this is an incremental change to NAFTA," said Dent. "The prospects of that passing right now are uncertain at best, probably unlikely. Picking on [Federal Reserve Chairman] Jay Powell, he is not the problem. So I think the president's going to have to move out from under this trade war. Why are we fighting with the Europeans? I mean, for heaven's sakes, he was talking about putting tariffs on German cars. BMW is the largest exporter of cars in the United States followed by Daimler. And he wants to punish them? For what? For investing too much in America? This trade issue is driving so much of this uncertainty, and the president could correct that tomorrow."
Asked by anchor Fredricka Whitfield whether any of this will be enough to lose support from Republican voters, Dent said that it depends.
"Some of them, I think, just want stability," said Dent. "I think many of them would say they like the tax and deregulatory policies that he's imposed, but these trade wars are simply washing away or negating, I should say, the beneficial effects ... They couldn't vote for Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders, but they probably could vote for Joe Biden."