President Donald Trump said Tuesday he is willing to allow the U.S. economy to suffer short-term losses and even go into a brief recession in order to deal with a trade imbalance with China.
“China’s been grifting off this country for 25 years, but longer than that. And it’s about time, whether it’s good for our country or bad for our country short term,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office when asked whether he is concerned that a potential trade war with China could hurt the economy.
“I am doing this whether it’s good or bad for your statement about, ‘Oh, will we fall into a recession for two months?’” Trump told a reporter.
Trump said his most recent predecessors, former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, failed to deal with Chinese manipulation of its currency and theft of intellectual property from the U.S.
“They all should have done it,” he said. “Nobody did it. I’m doing it.”
Trump implemented tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods in 2018 and threatened to levy another $300 billion on products this year. He announced plans in August for a tariff on electronics and footwear to be enacted by Sept. 1 after he said the Chinese government backed out of a deal on U.S. agricultural products. The administration delayed the plan on Aug. 13 until at least Dec. 15.