Trump Defends His Tariffs, Insults Alec Baldwin in Friday Tweets

By Susan Jones | March 2, 2018 | 7:10am EST
President Donald Trump speaks to steel and aluminum executives on Thursday, March 1. (Photo: Screen grab/C-SPAN)

( - Saying the United States hasn't been treated "fairly" by other countries, President Trump announced on Thursday he will impose tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports for a "long period of time."

"So steel and aluminum will see a lot of good things happen," Trump told representatives of the steel and aluminum industries at the White House yesterday. "We're going to have new jobs popping up. We're going to have much more vibrant companies. And then the rest is going to be up to management to make them truly great. If you could ever make U.S. Steel like it used to be, we'd be very happy. And I actually think it's possible. But you have a long way to go."

Following the predictable lamentation on cable television stations Friday morning, President Trump tweeted: "When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win. Example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade anymore-we win big. It’s easy!"

Later, in two additional tweets, Trump defended his tariffs: "We must protect our country and our workers. Our steel industry is in bad shape. IF YOU DON’T HAVE STEEL, YOU DON’T HAVE A COUNTRY!"

"When a country Taxes our products coming in at, say, 50%, and we Tax the same product coming into our country at ZERO, not fair or smart. We will soon be starting RECIPROCAL TAXES so that we will charge the same thing as they charge us. $800 Billion Trade Deficit-have no choice!"

Trump, who promised tariffs during his campaign, said he will fulfill that promise next week, and he invited industry executives to return to the signing ceremony:

"What's been allowed to go on for decades is disgraceful," the president said Thursday. "It's disgraceful. And when it comes to a time when our country can't make aluminum and steel -- and somebody said it before, and I will tell you, you almost don't have much of a country. Because without steel and aluminum, your country is not the same. And we need it. We need it even for defense, if you think. I mean, we need it for defense. We need great steelmakers, great aluminum makers for defense.

"So we'll probably see you sometime next week. We'll be signing it in. And you will have protection for the first time in a long while, and you're going to regrow your industries. That's all I'm asking. You have to regrow your industries."

In a second pre-dawn tweet on Friday, Trump reacted to an interview with actor Alec Baldwin in The Hollywood Reporter:

"Alec Baldwin, whose dying mediocre career was saved by his terrible impersonation of me on SNL, now says playing me was agony. Alec, it was agony for those who were forced to watch. Bring back Darrell Hammond, funnier and a far greater talent!"

Baldwin told the Reporter that playing Trump on Saturday Night Live is "agony."

Every time I do it now, it's like agony. Agony. I can't. If things don't go in the right direction for the midterms. … I could go out on the street, stand on any corner and tap 10 people on the shoulder. And all 10 of them, in all likelihood, would be more qualified — ethically, morally, intellectually and spiritually — than Trump. I'll vote for Mitt Romney. I don't care. Anybody over this guy. It doesn't matter. We have to get rid of him. And that's another project I'm working on. I was the keynote speaker at the Democratic Dinner in Iowa, and I'm gonna go do a couple more of those this year. My wife and I agreed that we're gonna give it everything we have. And then if, God forbid, he wins again in 2020, I'm wondering can I host a game show in Spain.

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