Trump Blamed Our ‘Stupid’ Leaders For The Trade Deficit In 2016. It Just Hit A 12-Year High.
September 3, 2020
In 2016, Trump promised he’d equalize the trade deficit in a single day if he was elected president. He also blamed high deficits on our “stupid” leaders, not China, for negotiating bad deals. Well guess what? The trade deficit just hit a 12-year high under Trump’s watch.
Despite Trump’s promises, the U.S. trade deficit hit a 12-year high in July.
Associated Press: “The U.S. trade deficit surged in July to $63.6 billion, the highest level in 12 years, as imports jumped by a record amount. The Commerce Department reported that the July deficit, the gap between what America buys and what it sells to foreigners, was 18.9% higher than the June deficit of $53.5 billion.”
Financial Times: “During the 2016 campaign, Mr Trump pledged to get much tougher on trade with China, which he accused of ‘raping’ the US. After launching a trade war with Beijing, he secured a limited trade deal in January. But that agreement looks wobbly and the trade deficit remains stubbornly high. The US trade deficit in goods with China in 2016 was $347bn. For 2019, it was only marginally lower at $345bn.”
In 2016, Trump promised he would equalize the trade deficit in a single day.
TRUMP: “I will take care of that situation so fast in one day that situation will be equalized. One day, okay?” [Campaign Rally, Spokane WA, 5/7/16]
TRUMP: “In fact, it is amazing that for years we have had massive deficits now it is getting higher and it is getting worse. These countries are treating us like we are children because we have leaders that don’t know what is going on…Unless I become President. You will see a drop like you have never seen before.” [Trump Campaign Rally, Manchester NH, 6/30/16]
Trump says America’s leaders, not China, are to blame for the trade deficit because they are “stupid” and don’t negotiate good deals.
TRUMP: “I don’t blame China. I blame our leaders for being taken advantage of by Mexico and China and Japan and everybody.” [Trump Campaign Rally, Dallas TX, 6/16/16]
TRUMP: “On trade, our trade deficit now nearly $800 billion a year. We have a deficit. Think of it, of almost $800 billion a year. You really say who’s negotiating these deals?” [USA Thank You Tour 2016, Fayetteville NC, 12/6/16]
TRUMP: “I want free trade too. I’m a free trader but you can’t have free trade when you have stupid people doing the negotiation. You can’t because we are being beaten on every front and you can’t do it. I’ll tell you what trade deficit with China $505 billion a year. Who makes a deal like that?” [Trump Campaign Rally, Spokane WA, 5/7/16]
TRUMP: “I don’t blame China. I told that to President Xi. I was in Beijing, making a speech, saying how they’re ripping us off. And guess what? He wasn’t too happy. I looked at him. I said, ‘He’s not happy.’ And I said, ‘I better change the speech quickly.’ So I said, ‘I don’t blame him. I blame our Presidents.’ And I’m right.” [Trump Remarks at Signing Of Phase One Trade Deal With China, Washington DC, 1/15/20]
TRUMP: “No, no, China’s good. They’ve done nothing wrong. They’re wonderful people. They are wonderful people. I don’t blame China by the way, I blame our leaders for allowing this horrible—you know what and pillage, it’s the R-word.” [Trump Campaign Rally, Dallas TX, 10/17/19]
As president, Trump railed against trade deficits, and falsely claimed that the deficits were decreasing.
TRUMP: “We have trade deficits with everybody. Virtually every country in the world, we have trade deficits with them. That’s going to be changing. It’s already changing, but it’s going to be changing fast.” [Trump Remarks Before Lunch With Republican Members Of The Senate, Washington DC, 12/5/17]
TRUMP: “The United States has an $800 billion dollar yearly trade deficit because of our ‘very stupid’ trade deals and policies. Our jobs and wealth are being given to other countries that have taken advantage of us for years. They laugh at what fools our leaders have been. No more!”
Washington Post Fact Checker: “Trump Keeps Claiming The Trade Deficit Is Going Down. It’s Not.”