Trump may have been able to rewrite the rules of Presidential politics but he can’t rewrite the laws of economics.
The good news is he knows it.
On trade with China, the President has consistently said the goal of punishing China (and U.S. consumers) with tariff increases in the short term is to get to a lower tariff, more free trade relationship for the long term.
It logically follows if the end game is low tariffs and more trade, the President understands that high tariffs and less trade are anti-growth positions.
Trump’s 2018 steel tariffs, for example, cost U.S. businesses and consumers more than $900,000 for every job created or saved, according to the Peterson Institute. This is not sustainable if economic growth is the goal. Neither is allocating upwards of $15 billion in price supports to salve the economic wounds inflicted on American farmers, as Trump committed to do.
Serving the long-term interests of U.S. consumers is in the President’s short-term, 2020 political interest.