(CNSNews.com) - Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat who is running for re-election in a red state, expressed strong support on Tuesday for President Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs.
"Well, let me speak about the president's move on tariffs. I support (them) 1,000 percent," Manchin told Fox News's Martha McCallum.
I come from West Virginia. We were affected when good jobs that we lost, I mean, good-paying jobs with benefits -- these are jobs that people thought would never have a chance of coming back. President Trump is giving them a chance for that to come back now.
We're talking about fair trade. Everybody in America is for fair trade. This free-trade hasn't worked out well for America or American jobs. This is not about the jobs or Main Street. This is Wall Street pushing back now.
And Main Street, hopefully, those are the people that voted for President Trump. And he's respecting that and I think coming through on the commitment he's made to make sure that we're treated fairly throughout the world.
It's going to bring a lot of people to the table, Martha, that say, 'Oh, these trade wars.' I don't think that will happen. I think they will sit down and re-evaluate the deals that we've made over the years.
President Trump defended his tariffs in another tweet on Wednesday, writing: "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. Last year we had a Trade Deficit of almost 800 Billion Dollars. Bad Policies & Leadership. Must WIN again! #MAGA."
President Trump's Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told Congress on Tuesday that the Trump administration is trying to achieve a balance -- protecting the steel and aluminum industries on one hand, while making sure that there is no "undue harm" to the economy on the other.
"We're not looking to get into trade wars," Mnuchin testified. "We are looking to make sure that U.S. companies can compete fairly around the world." Mnuchin repeated something hinted at by Trump -- that the tariffs won't apply to Mexico and Canada, if those countries agree to renegotiate the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Manchin told McCallum he agrees with the president that bilateral trade agreements are best:
"I never have been a fan of multi-lateral," he said. "You have five or six different countries. We really, sincerely are trying to give some advantages and help Third World nations pick themselves up, but there are other people in the mix. And before you know it, we are giving super advantages to countries don't need -- they should be on an even par.
"So I think is absolutely correct in what the president's doing. Bilateral. Let's deal directly with Mexico. Let's deal directly with Canada, which has been favored nation treatment. I think we can deal one on one and do much better and achieve our goals of helping those that need help and making sure the ones that don't compete on a fair, level playing field."
Asked if he's concerned that tariffs will produce rising prices, Manchin said no.
"Oh, no. I hear the sabres rattling. I understand -- Wall Street. You know, If everything's not just perfect with Wall Street, my goodness, the whole sky is falling and the world is coming apart. That's not it at all!"
Manchin praised Trump for having the "spine" to say the United States has been taken advantage of for too long.
"People in West Virginia and all over rural America have suffered. We have a chance to fight back. We want a level playing field. We will compete. And what we're saying is, if a country is going to charge us 20 percent to put our product in their market, shouldn't we reciprocate and charge the same coming in? Why should we give up our market?" Manchin asked.