Trump on Steel Tariffs: 'We're Not Backing Down'
On Sunday, Peter Navarro, director of the White House National Trade Council, told CNN that the U.S. likely will not exempt any countries from the tariffs, but would consider exemptions for specific businesses. He also confirmed that the U.S. is targeting China through the tariffs.
"China is at the root of the problem," Navarro said.
On Monday, President Donald Trump, speaking from the Oval Office, dismissed the potential for a trade war and said he plans on seeing that the tariffs are imposed.
"No, we’re not backing down," Trump told reporters.
However, Trump said Canada and Mexico leaders could avoid the tariffs if they made concessions in negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement.
"We’ve had a very bad deal with Mexico, we’ve had a very bad deal with Canada — it’s called NAFTA,” Trump said.
Earlier in the morning, Trump tweeted:
"Tariffs on steel and aluminum will only come off if new and fair NAFTA agreement is signed. Also, Canada must treat our farmers much better."
In spite of the blowback from leaders around the world, some Democratic lawmakers have offered support for the tariffs. But members of Trump’s own party are trying to talk him out of following through, including House Speaker Paul Ryan.
"We are extremely worried about the consequences of a trade war and are urging the White House to not advance with this plan,"
said Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong. "The new tax reform law has boosted the economy and we certainly don’t want to jeopardize those gains."