“President Trump said on Thursday that he would impose stiff tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum, making good on a key campaign promise and rattling stock markets as the prospect of a global trade fight appeared imminent.
“In a hastily arranged meeting with industry executives that stunned many inside the West Wing, Mr. Trump said he would formally sign the trade measures next week and promised they would be in effect ‘for a long period of time.’ The action, which came against the wishes of Mr. Trump’s pro-trade advisers, would impose tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, effectively placing a tax on every foreign shipment of those metals into the United States.”
“Friday morning, Mr. Trump tweeted that a trade war would be a positive development in the context of the United States’ current position with its trading partners.” (New York Times)
BEN SASSE RESPONDS. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), a possible challenger to Trump in 2020, responded Thursday and Friday with two statements to Trump’s plans, first writing, “protectionism is weak, not strong. You’d expect a policy this bad from a leftist administration, not a supposedly Republican one.” On Friday, he followed up by writing, “trade wars are never won. Trade wars are lost by both sides. Kooky 18th century protectionism will jack up prices on American families—and will prompt retaliation from other countries. Make no mistake: If the President goes through with this, it will kill American jobs — that’s what every trade war ultimately does. So much losing.” (release)
NRA. “The top lobbyist for the National Rifle Association claimed late Thursday that President Trump had retreated from his surprising support a day earlier for gun control measures after a meeting with N.R.A. officials and Vice President Mike Pence in the Oval Office.
“The lobbyist, Chris Cox, posted on Twitter just after 9 p.m. that he met with Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence, saying that ‘we all want safe schools, mental health reform and to keep guns away from dangerous people. POTUS & VPOTUS support the Second Amendment, support strong due process and don’t want gun control. #NRA #MAGA.’ Mr. Trump tweeted about an hour later, ‘Good (Great) meeting in the Oval Office tonight with the NRA!’” (New York Times)
KASICH. “Tightening background checks for gun buyers and allowing ‘red flag’ protection orders were among six gun violence policy recommendations made Thursday by a bipartisan panel assembled by Gov. John Kasich (R). Four other recommendations would put federal restrictions into state law so Ohio law enforcement officials could pursue charges that otherwise would go unprosecuted by federal officials.” (Cleveland.com)
PRO-TRUMP GROUP POLL. “America First Policies, a pro-Trump nonprofit group established shortly after the president’s inauguration last year,” commissioned a poll on American attitudes about House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s comments “that major corporations are giving workers ‘crumbs’ while top executives reap bonuses after passage of the GOP’s tax revision plan.” It found that “nearly half of Americans agree.” (Washington Post)