President Trump added a new name Thursday to the list of countries he accuses of preying on American workers and exploiting naïve American trade policies: Canada.
“What they’ve done to our dairy farm workers is a disgrace,” Mr. Trump said as he ordered a sweeping investigation into whether steel imports are harming America’s national security. “We can’t let Canada or anybody else take advantage and do what they did to our workers and to our farmers.”
Mr. Trump admitted he was going off script because the steel order is aimed at more familiar trade boogeymen like China and Japan. But his outburst in the Oval Office toward a friendly neighbor punctuated a week when tough talk on trade took center stage in a White House deeply divided over how aggressively to erect the trade barriers that Mr. Trump promised during his campaign.
From Mr. Trump’s “buy American, hire American” rallying cry in Wisconsin this week to Vice President Mike Pence’s warnings to Japan and South Korea about the need to rewrite trade deals, the Trump administration is moving against free trade on multiple fronts. A senior White House official said there would be two trade-related events a week for the next few weeks.
“He’s manically focused on these trade issues,” said Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s chief strategist.
The flurry of activity amounts to a comeback by nationalists like Mr. Bannon, who views trade as crucial to Mr. Trump’s populist appeal but whose star has dimmed after clashes with globalist-minded aides like Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, and Gary D. Cohn, the former Goldman Sachs banker and lifelong Democrat who is head of the National Economic Council.
The outcome of the debate between nationalists and globalists remains far from settled. Last week the globalists appeared to be winning when the administration decided not to formally designate China a currency manipulator, despite Mr. Trump’s vow to do so during the campaign. Mr. Trump also offered President Xi Jinping of China other concessions on his trade agenda in return for China’s help in curbing North Korea’s nuclear program.
This article continues at [New York Times] Trump Roars Again on Trade, Reviewing Steel and Chiding Canada