BREAKING: Trump Signs New Executive Order, Stocks Jump 90+ Points

There’s no telling for sure, if these two bits of important news are related, but the timing seems conspicuous enough to at least suggest they are.

On Thursday morning, President Trump invited American steel and aluminum workers into the White House for a photo-op as he prepared to sign what may be his most controversial Executive Order to date.

The President’s order will raise tariff’s on steel imports by 25%, and tariffs on aluminum imports by 10%. The tariffs will go into effect two weeks from now, and only Canada and Mexico will be exempt from the order.

“You are truly the backbone of America, you know that. Very special people,” Trump told the gathered workers. “We have to protect our steel and aluminum industries while at the same time, showing great flexibility with people who are really friends of ours. This is not merely an economic disaster, but it’s a security disaster. Today, I’m defending America’s national security.” 

The President also blamed steel and aluminum exporters for killing the US manufacturing industry through an aggressive form of trade known as “dumping.” “It’s a process called dumping. And they dumped more than any time, on any nation, anywhere in the world, and it drove our plants out and our businesses out,” the President explained before adding that America’s legislators were to blame for allowing foreign exporters to kill the American steel and aluminum industries. “The steel industry has been ravaged by aggressive foreign trade practices, an assault on our country… It’s been an assault, they know better than anybody, and I’ve been talking about this for a long time, longer than my political career. Our factories were left to rot and to rust all over the place. Thriving communities turned into ghost towns. Not any longer,” the President promised. “The workers who poured their souls into building this great nation were betrayed, but that betrayal is over.” 

On the news that the Executive Order had been signed, the stock market posted solid gains, ending the day about 94 points higher than they started.

Stocks posted modest gains Thursday, as President Donald Trump moved forward with a tariff plan that excludes Canada and Mexico.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 93.85 points, or 0.38%, to 24,895.21. The S&P 500 rose 12.17 points, or 0.45%, to 2,738.97. The Nasdaq Composite was up 31.30 points, or 0.42%, at 7,427.95.

The reaction to the new, higher tariffs was mostly negative.

There are a few trade protectionists, like pundit Pat Buchanan, who cheered the move… but the vast majority of commentary cast the move in a negative light.

Most Republicans (and almost all conservatives) generally oppose raising tariffs on principle. Free trade and free markets work best when untethered from taxes, and tariffs. Many Democrats opposed the tariff hike, because that’s what they do, they oppose the things that President Trump does. While the Democrats may argue about “free trade,” when criticizing the tariffs, in the past they’ve been much more amenable to government intervention in these issues than they seem to be now.
Here’s some of the reaction from around the political world:

Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ):

“These so-called ‘flexible tariffs’ are a marriage of two lethal poisons to economic growth — protectionism and uncertainty,” the Arizona lawmaker said in a statement. “Trade wars are not won, they are only lost. Congress cannot be complicit as the administration courts economic disaster.”

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL):

President Trump wants to put China on notice for their abusive trade practices that hurt American workers and industries. I support that. The sweeping tariffs announced today are like dropping a bomb on a flea. Launching an all-out trade war will alienate the allies we need to actually solve the problem of steel dumping, and could have huge unintended consequences for American manufacturers who depend on imported materials.”

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI):

“I am pleased that the President has listened to those who share my concerns and included an exemption for some American allies, but it should go further,” Ryan said. “We will continue to urge the administration to narrow this policy so that it is focused only on those countries and practices that violate trade law.”

Mike Huckabee:

Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE):

Sasse said what Trump proposed amounts to “leftist economic policy,” arguing trade wars have never worked.

“If you own a steel mill, today was great for you. If you consume steel – and every American family bought something at the store tonight with metals in it – today’s a bad day for you,” he said, warning of future “retaliatory” measures against farmers, ranchers and consumers in the United States as the trade war worsens.

Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA):

“Just because you’re slapping tariffs on steel doesn’t mean that there aren’t going to be repercussions in other areas,” the Iowa senator told the “Hugh Hewitt Radio Show.”
“We export a lot of our soy beans to China, and we know that China is a bad actor. But there is a delicate balance out there, and we need to have thorough negotiations,” she continued. “We haven’t gone through that process.”
This week Ernst spearheaded two letters to the President in opposition of the tariffs — one from Iowa Republicans in Congress and another Republicans in the Senate.

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA):

President Trump’s America First strategy has been working. From his aggressive deregulation of burdensome and unnecessary Obama-era regulations to the continuing success of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the president’s agenda is securing much-needed economic victories on behalf of Americans. But his recent tariff proposals would stall and ultimately undermine the progress he has made.

Trade is essential to a growing, successful economy. When it’s working as it should, trade opens new markets, strengthens international relationships and increases American productivity, while securing domestic industries and American jobs.

Entrepreneur and Inventor/Innovator Elon Musk:

But the mood among the working class in blue-collar working states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, etc., seems to be much more buoyant.

From the perspective of the working class folks in the Rust Belt states, President Trump continues to do exactly what he promised them he would do.

An Ohio forklift driver who switched parties in 2016 to support President Trump applauded the plan to impose new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

Geno DiFabio, who appeared alongside Trump at a rally in Youngstown over the summer, was a lifelong Democrat who embraced Trump’s promise to end harmful trade deals

DiFabio said that the workers he has spoken to in recent days are happy about Trump’s announcement.

“Let’s make it fair and we’ll beat ’em. Those jobs will come back, the jobs are already coming back,” he told Griff Jenkins Sunday, adding Trump is following through on “exactly what he said he was gonna do.”

If you’d like to see how your state, or perhaps the company you work for might be effected, CNN has a couple of stories analyzing the impact of the new tariffs – here and here.

Here’s the full signing ceremony from Thursday morning:

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I am the supreme law of the United States. Originally comprising seven articles, I delineate the national frame of government. My first three articles entrench the doctrine of the separation of powers, whereby the federal government is divided into three branches: the legislative, consisting of the bicameral Congress; the executive, consisting of the President; and the judicial, consisting of the Supreme Court and other federal courts. Articles Four, Five and Six entrench concepts of federalism, describing the rights and responsibilities of state governments and of the states in relationship to the federal government. Article Seven establishes the procedure subsequently used by the thirteen States to ratify it. I am regarded as the oldest written and codified constitution in force of the world.

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