Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader thinks President Donald Trump’s efforts at trade negotiation are foolhardy at best.
“You don’t throw everything at the wall and end up isolating everybody. You look foolish and you cause bad results for the people you are, theoretically, trying to help,” Schrader said.
Since the beginning of the year, President Trump has unilaterally enacted new or higher tariffs more than 1,000 goods imported into the United States. It includes a number of raw materials, like steel and aluminum, used in other U.S.-produced products.
“I’ve talked to a lot of Republicans, a lot of businessmen, a lot of farmers. They are all terrified. They are terrified of what the tariffs will do to American businesses – and that will filter down to the employees,” Schrader said.
Schrader said the impacts of the trade war are being felt most in Midwest and Rustbelt states, but it’s only a matter of time before the ripples reach Oregon.
“Nike and Columbia are wary because the fact is their products are made by people around the world, but I went up and visited the new hazelnut facility in Donald and they are worried about selling them. The price has fallen precipitously, and Turkey is going to fill that void. That’s a market we’ll lose and it will be devastating to an iconic Oregon industry,” he said.
Schrader laid the blame at the feet of Republicans who, he said, are not willing to intervene in the president’s actions.
“The Republicans should be stepping up here, but the Republicans aren’t doing anything,” he said. “There is no Republican party nationally, there’s some vestiges of the business-oriented, fiscally responsible conservative in Oregon and a bit in Washington. But that is gone in most of the country, and especially in D.C. They are spending money left and right, they are increasing the deficit. Democrats cannot be held accountable for the recent largesse that has gone on.”
Schrader credits the base supporters of the Trump administration in their attempt to hang in with their chosen leader, but felt the trust was misguided.
“They think the president knows better but, with all due respect, he doesn’t know much. It’s very dangerous because they are going to lose their farms at the end of the day,” Schrader said.