Senate Finance Committee Chairmain Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) told Politico that despite what President Donald Trump has said, he doesn't believe that Trump truly believes that tariffs are actually good.
What has Trump said?
Tariffs are taxes placed on imports of goods from other countries. In the U.S., these tariffs are paid by U.S. importers when they receive foreign goods.
Trump has praised his use of tariffs in the past, calling himself the "Tariff Man." He has also called tariffs "the greatest" and bragged about the "over 100 Billion Dollars in Tariffs that we take in." In a May 10 tweet, Trump said that tariffs would "bring in FAR MORE wealth to our Country than even a phenomenal [trade] deal of the traditional kind."
During a May 12 interview on "Fox News Sunday," Trump's economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, admitted that the Chinese were not paying these tariffs but argued that they would "suffer GDP losses," which would hurt them in the long run.
What did Grassley say?
But, despite Trump's praise of the tariffs, Grassley said that he believes that Trump only views them as a means to an end.
"He believes in tariffs as a tool to get a negotiation as opposed to being an end in themselves," Grassley told Politico. "Then he hasn't changed anything. If he has used tariffs because he believes they're good, and I know he says that, but I don't believe he actually believes that. I don't see how he could believe it."
Republicans have traditionally supported free trade, something Grassley says has not changed.
"[H]e hasn't changed the Republican Party. We're still a party of free trade … I surely hope that he has learned from history that lower tariffs are good," he added.