Despite evidence to the contrary, White House Trade Advisor Peter Navarro tells CNN's Jake Tapper that Trump's trade war with China isn't "hurting anybody" in the United States.
August 18, 2019

Trump's Trade Advisor Peter Navarro can continue to gaslight the American public and lie about the fact that these Chinese tariffs aren't doing any economic damage to people here in the United States, but that's not going to change the reality for these farmers that are struggling after losing their fourth largest export market.

CNN's Jake Tapper confronted Navarro about exactly that on this Sunday's State of the Union, and Navarro just dismissed the studies cited by Tapper after insisting that the tariffs are hurting China, and not the farmers and consumers in the U.S.

TAPPER: Listen to the president of the Minnesota Farmers Union, Gary Wertish, who told CNN this week that even the president's supporters are being hurt and struggling in this trade war, even with the money that the administration is giving them to help them through this tough pass -- passage.

Take a listen.


GARY WERTISH, PRESIDENT, MINNESOTA FARMERS UNION: Words and Twitters and tweets, that doesn't -- that doesn't pay the farmers' bills. That doesn't solve the problem we're dealing with.

And this one -- like I said earlier, this one's self-inflicted by our president. And we definitely agreed with him at the beginning. But we -- it doesn't appear that there's a plan B.


TAPPER: These are people on the front lines, and they're saying the trade war is directly hurting them, and China is not bearing all the burden of this; they are bearing the burden of this.

NAVARRO: So there's a couple of things to say here.

First of all, this president has the backs of farmers. And all the money we're taking in our tariffs, a lot of that is going right to the farmers to keep us whole.

Let's make no mistake about it. China is targeting those farmers to buckle our knees.

I think, whenever we talk about the China issue, it's really important to just go over the seven things we're fighting for. It's the cyber and...

TAPPER: We can't go into all seven. I know there are seven.

Let's just posit right now that...

NAVARRO: Would you acknowledge -- would you acknowledge...

TAPPER: Let's just posit that China is a bad actor. Let's posit that China is...

NAVARRO: ... that there's seven significant problems, including killing Americans with fentanyl and opioids, that this president is standing up to China?

Would you acknowledge that Bill Clinton got China into the WTO and that George Bush, Joe Biden, and Barack Obama stood by while we lost 7,000 factories and five million manufacturing jobs?

TAPPER: I will acknowledge the -- I will acknowledge the fact that there is -- there is pretty much broad consensus in the United States that China is a bad actor, absolutely.

NAVARRO: And on Capitol Hill.

And they are behind this president. The farmers are behind this president.

TAPPER: The farmers are starting to lose patience.

NAVARRO: The farmers understand the pain.

The farmers are behind this president.

TAPPER: The Iowa Soybean Association president -- let me just read this to you.

The Iowa Soybean Association president, Lindsay Greiner, says -- quote -- "Short-term, stair-step subsidies" -- this is what the administration is offering these farmers -- "are a poor remedy for trade."

She says your negotiations right now with China are all talk and no action.

When are the -- when are the farmers go have this off their back?


TAPPER: But here's the thing.

You and the administration keep on saying that the entire burden of these tariffs and this trade war is being borne by China.

NAVARRO: And that is absolutely true.

TAPPER: A study from researchers at Harvard, University of University Chicago, the IMF, and the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston in May found that U.S. importers are shouldering about 95 percent of the price change from the tariffs, and China is shouldering only 5 percent.

NAVARRO: See, that dog won't hunt.

Let's do some math here, right? You put on 200 -- 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion.

TAPPER: Are you saying that their research is wrong?

NAVARRO: Hang on. Hang on.

Just do some math with me -- $200 billion, we put on a 10 percent tariff, and China devalues their currency by 12 percent.

TAPPER: Mm-hmm.


Is -- are consumers bearing anything on that? No.

We have seen absolutely no evidence in the price data that consumer -- that's not showing up in the consumer price index. China is slashing their prices.


TAPPER: ... tariffs aren't hurting anybody in the United States.

NAVARRO: They're not hurting anybody here.

TAPPER: Then why did...

NAVARRO: OK? They're hurting China. They're slashing their prices.


TAPPER: When the president delayed these tariffs that were supposed to hit, that would have hit in Christmas, why did you call it a Christmas president to the American people, to delay that -- to delay those tariffs, if that doesn't specifically suggest that the tariffs would have been borne by American consumers here?

NAVARRO: Let me suggest the wisdom of that decision, because I -- I was there when...

TAPPER: But you're saying that the tariffs are great, and not imposing the tariffs are great, both.

NAVARRO: Let me answer it.

TAPPER: Go ahead.


So, I was in the Oval Office when we had executives come in, and they said, look, let's wait until December for -- 15th, because we have bought all of our stuff that's going to be on the shelves. And we did it in dollar-based contracts, which mean we don't have any ability to shift the burden to the Chinese.

But what we're also doing, Mr. President, is, we're removing our supply chain and manufacturing out of China as fast as we can.

So the president made a wise decision, would build goodwill with the Chinese and which protects consumers from any possible Christmastime impacts. And once we get past that, these businesses are doing their contracts in a way which won't harm consumers.

So we're in a situation here...

TAPPER: Mm-hmm.

NAVARRO: ... where consumers have not been hurt, China's bearing the whole burden.

And guess what? Consumers spend $14 trillion a year. If you put 10 percent tariffs on $300 billion, that's $30 billion. You know how much that is? That's one-fifth of a percent of possible impact. It's nothing.


TAPPER: We're out of time, but I do want to give you an opportunity to just address the fact that you keep saying that -- that China's bearing all the burden.

And that goes against what we're hearing from researchers at Harvard University, Chicago, the IMF, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, former Trump adviser Gary Cohn, who I know you clashed with quite a bit...


TAPPER: ... the editorial board of "The Wall Street Journal," which is very conservative.

Economist after economist says that you're not being straight with the American people on who's bearing the burden of these tariffs. Why are all these people lying, and you telling the truth?

NAVARRO: So, all I would say to you is -- is, look at the data. There's absolutely no evidence, no evidence whatsoever.

TAPPER: Did you look at that study I told you about?

NAVARRO: American consumers -- there's no evidence whatsoever that Americans consumers are bearing any of this.

We know that China is slashing their prices. They're slashing the value of the yuan. They're hemorrhaging, hemorrhaging their manufacturing base.

Be happy to look at some of those studies. But I can tell you this. This president is committed to standing up to China and getting a good deal for the American people. And he will continue to do what needs to be done.

The strategy has been put in place going back to Mar-a-Lago. And we are winning.

TAPPER: All right. I think there are a lot of people out there who don't feel as though we're winning.

NAVARRO: Well, certainly, you don't.

But this has been a good exchange. And I would simply say that this -- this is -- this is the battle of our time, because, if we don't get it right with China structurally, that's going to harm not just our economy and our workers.

TAPPER: Well...

NAVARRO: It's going to harm the global economy.

TAPPER: ... good luck with the trade deal. We all hope that it happens.

NAVARRO: Good to be here.

TAPPER: We all hope that it's successful.

NAVARRO: Good to be here.

TAPPER: Thank you so much, Peter Navarro.

Can you help us out?

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