In an interview with a Chuck Todd, Leo Gerard, President of the United Steelworks, praised President Trump’s newly proclaimed tariffs for the effect that they will have on the U.S. steel market.
Gerard also praised Trump for clearly stating that he is going to “tackle trade deficits,” which he called a “wealth transfer” because they are “taking good jobs away.”
He said Trump was able to “see the steelworker agenda” and “he’s going to have a major impact on our members” with what he has done.
He continued, “It’s going to make it very hard for our members to ignore what he just did and what makes me sad is we’ve been trying to get Democrats to this for more than 30 years.”
Gerard went on, saying that Trump is finally “going to help us get a level playing field” after 20 years of promises from Democratic and Republican presidents. While unions are notoriously large supporters of Democrats, Gerard said Trump’s administration has recognized that if the next 20 years are like the last 20 years then “we have a national security problem.”
Gerard said that his union will work with the Trump Administration to prioritize U.S.-made steel.
NBC’s Chuck Todd argued that, yes, there are countries with trade deficits, but there is a “national security component” because “we’re exporting values” like democracy to make a financial ally.
Gerard said he doesn’t understand Todd’s point because other countries aren’t dumping unemployment on the economy when they dump steel in the U.S.
Chuck Todd then asked Gerard if he thinks tariffs should just be targeted at China. He quickly answered, “no, we should look at all the cheaters.”
Todd then asked Gerard, “Who else is cheating in steel as bad as China?”
Gerard said, “China. South Korea. India. Vietnam. Russia — not only on steel but aluminum. The president has made it really clear that he’s going to tackle the trade deficits,” Gerard said Thursday on MSNBC. “It is unacceptable that America would have an $800 billion trade deficit but when you subtract services, roughly $600 billion annual trade deficit. That’s a wealth transfer and you can’t argue that those trade deficits are creating good jobs. Those trade deficits are taking good jobs away.”
He continued, “All we’re asking for is a level playing field and with the president has done is send a signal that he’s going to help us get a level playing field,” Gerard said. “And we gave the Republicans and we gave the Democrats — we’ve given every government since before Clinton hope that they would do something. And [Secretary of Commerce] Wilbur Ross and [Director of Trade and Industrial Policy] Peter Navarro and [United States Trade Representative] Bob Lighthizer deserve to be complimented for recognizing that if the next 20 years are like the last 20 years, we really have a national security problem. And we need to make sure that our friends are with us and not against us.”
Chuck Todd turned things political, asking Gerard if Trump will truly “win over some of your rank and file.”
Gerard said Trump “was able to see the steelworker agenda,” something that he has been fighting to get for over 30 years from the Democrats.
Gerard began, “Let me say this. That Donald Trump was able to see the steelworker agenda, what he did is what we’ve been fighting for more than 30 years. And I think what happened is that he’s going to have a major impact on our members. It’s going to make it very hard for our members to ignore what he just did and what makes me sad is we’ve been trying to get Democrats to do this for more than 30 years.”
Check out the conversation between Todd and Gerard below…
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Credit: Real Clear Politics