President Trump blamed previous administrations for allowing the United States trade deficit to balloon as he continued to make the case for his plan to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports a day after his economic adviser stepped down over the plan.
“From Bush 1 to present, our Country has lost more than 55,000 factories, 6,000,000 manufacturing jobs and accumulated Trade Deficits of more than 12 Trillion Dollars ,” he wrote on Twitter. ” Last year we had a Trade Deficit of almost 800 Billion Dollars. Bad Policies & Leadership. Must WIN again! #MAGA. ”
The country’s trade deficit in goods and services hit $566 billion last year – a 12 percent spike and the highest since the 2008 financial crisis, according to the Commerce Department.
Manufacturing jobs held largely held their own from 1980 to 2000, but then went on a steep decline.
Since the turn of the century, the US has lost 5,000,000 manufacturing jobs, according to numbers from the Economic Policy Institute.
Trump has been railing about the trade deficit since his 2016 presidential campaign and last week declared that he would impose a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum.
Trump’s announcement caught many, including members of his White House, by surprise, shocked Republican leaders in Congress and roiled the stock market.
Gary Cohn, the White House economic adviser who argued against the tariffs, said on Tuesday that he would resign.
And the European Union, in retaliation, said it would take action against Harley-Davidson motorcycles, bourbon and Levi’s.
Trump shrugged off the prospect of a trade war.
“When we’re behind on every single country, 60 billion dollars, the trade war hurts them,” Trump said during a White House news conference on Tuesday. “We’ll see what happens.”