President Donald Trump attacked the economic track record of his predecessors Wednesday morning, blaming presidents dating back nearly 30 years for accumulating the trade deficits that he has railed against and pledged to reverse.
“From Bush 1 to present, our Country has lost more than 55,000 factories, 6,000,000 manufacturing jobs and accumulated Trade Deficits of more than 12 Trillion Dollars,” the president wrote on Twitter. “Last year we had a Trade Deficit of almost 800 Billion Dollars. Bad Policies & Leadership. Must WIN again! #MAGA”
Spokespeople for presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama did not immediately return emails seeking a response to Trump's criticism.
While Trump has long been a critic of what he labels unfair international trade, the issue has taken center stage at the White House in recent days after the president’s announcement last week that he intends to impose tariffs on the import of foreign aluminum and steel, a step he says will protect American workers. Trump has said any trade war triggered by new tariffs would be easy for the U.S. to win.
Even before the official installation of the tariffs, major U.S. trade partners including China and Canada have expressed their displeasure with the president’s announced policy. The European Union, which collectively is America’s largest trading partner, has threatened to impose reciprocal tariffs.
Trump’s new tariffs have also proven unpopular with some in his own party and even with some inside the West Wing. Chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, who had lobbied Trump hard against the tariffs, announced Tuesday that he would resign from the White House, and top Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) have been vocal in their opposition to the president’s plan.