FACT CHECK: Navarro Lies To Try To Sell Trump’s Reckless Trade Policy

White House trade and manufacturing adviser Peter Navarro wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal asking to “Give Trump’s Tariffs a Fair Test.” As expected, Navarro’s argument is filled with lies. Here’s the truth:

Navarro: “Take the steel industry. U.S. Steel is spending more than $2 billion to upgrade its plants… Over time this tariff-induced investment, along with lower taxes and sensible deregulation, will boost growth and job creation.”

REALITY: U.S. Steel has halted production and shuttered mills, laying off thousands of workers in the Midwest.

CNN: “About 1,500 jobs will be lost, the company said. US Steel had already announced a temporary layoff of about 200 workers at the plant earlier this year.”

Washington Post: U.S. Steel announced it will temporarily halt production at two domestic plants despite the boost from the Trump administration’s tariffs, as a steel industry singled out for federal support shows signs of weakening.” 

Bloomberg: “Since Trump announced the tariffs 16 months ago, U.S. Steel has lost almost 70% of its market value, or $5.6 billion, and idled two American furnaces in mid-June that couldn’t be run profitably at the lowest prices since 2016.”  

Navarro: “Yet with each new tariff—on dishwashers, solar panels, aluminum, steel and more than $300 billion of Chinese imports—the economy remains robust, wages continue to rise, and inflation stays muted.” 

REALITY: Consumers are paying more for appliances, solar companies laid off workers, aluminum industry jobs declined, and tariffs pushed the manufacturing industry into a recession.

New York Times: “Research to be released on Monday by the economists Aaron Flaaen, of the Fed, and Ali Hortacsu and Felix Tintelnot, of Chicago, estimates that consumers bore between 125 percent and 225 percent of the costs of the washing machine tariffs.” 

The Hill: “American solar company SunPower will lay off about 3 percent of its workforce in March, a decision that comes after President Trump began imposing new tariffs on imported solar materials earlier this month.   SunPower has already started the process of laying off between 150 and 250 workers, largely from its research and development and marketing positions, CEO Tom Werner told The Hill. The cuts will amount to about a 10 decrease in operational expenses.” 

New York Times: “There are fewer aluminum production jobs in the United States than a year ago, while steel mills have added only a few thousand jobs. In April of this year there were 381,000 Americans working in the primary metals industry, which includes steel and aluminum. That’s up from 376,400 a year ago — a 1.2 percent gain — and down from 398,000 in April 2015.” 

Wall Street Journal: “Manufacturing job growth has slumped since the Trump administration enacted the first of four tranches of tariffs on Chinese goods.” 

Navarro: “Yet with each new tariff… the economy remains robust, wages continue to rise, and inflation stays muted.” 

REALITY: Trump’s reckless use of tariffs has hurt exports, growth, and wages.

Reuters: “Exports of U.S. goods hit by retaliatory tariffs from China and other countries fell by 23% in the 12 months ended November, compared with 2017, before the tariffs began, the analysis showed. Even when retaliatory tariffs have ended, those exports haven’t bounced back, said Trade Partnership Vice President Dan Anthony.” 

Wall Street Journal: “Instead, as the trade war wore on, the administration began imploring the Fed to slash interest rates to bolster the economy. The Fed cut rates three times. Even so, the economy has cooled toward 2%.”

New York Times: “At a packed room in San Diego last week, researchers presented estimates that tariffs imposed by the United States and China — which remain in place despite the recent truce in trade talks — have reduced wages for workers in both countries already.”