Glenn Beck said Thursday that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump would use “trade wars” to manipulate China and Mexico if he became president — a strategy the radio show host says would “trigger a depression.” Beck cited the 1930 Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, which most believe helped usher in the Great Depression.

Beck referenced the billionaire businessman’s claim that he will build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and force Mexico to pay for it. That policy has become a central tenet of Trump’s campaign even though he has not yet clarified how he would accomplish his plan.

Donald Trump addresses a crowd during a campaign rally Monday. (AP/David Goldman)

Donald Trump addresses a crowd during a campaign rally Monday. (AP/David Goldman)

According to Beck, Trump would force Mexico’s hand by imposing trade tariffs and starting a “trade war.” Additionally, Trump has repeatedly said he would bring “fairness” to U.S. trade with China, claiming the country is taking the U.S. “to the cleaners every single year.”

“You’re going to say, you manipulate your currency. Great. We’re going to jack up the prices of your products,” Beck said on The Glenn Beck Radio Program.

“When he says, ‘We constantly lose to China, and they’re going to start playing fairly,’ the only way to do that is with trade tariffs. … What a tariff is, it jacks up the price. It’s a tax,” he added.

Beck went on to say “everyone would claim that is fair” because “we’re losing,” so the U.S. should raise its prices. However, he said doing so is counter to free trade and would lead to a depression, citing the results of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930.

“What [Sen. Reed Smoot and Rep. Willis Hawley] did was they instituted tariffs. And it started a trade war. And the trade war is what triggered the ’33 pounding of the depression, stock market collapses in ’29,” Beck said. “[A]nd by ’33, we’re in the Great Depression.”

Ultimately, Beck claimed Trump’s policies would institute “protectionism,” which he says “doesn’t work.”

“It doesn’t work. It causes a global trade war. It could cause a ‘hot war’ in this atmosphere. It could spiral the economies of the world out of control that fast,” Beck said.

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