Trump angry at administration globalists: 'Bring me tariffs!'

At a top-level trade meeting at the White House earlier this month, Trump angrily accused some of his advisers of being globalists and demanded that they formulate tariffs to impose on China.

The Hill:

During Gen. John Kelly's first week as White House Chief of Staff, the former Homeland Security secretary called a meeting to discuss the administration's plans to investigate China for stealing U.S. intellectual property and technology.

"For the last six months, this same group of geniuses comes in here all the time and I tell them, 'Tariffs. I want tariffs.' And what do they do? They bring me IP. I can't put a tariff on IP," Trump reportedly told Kelly during the meeting.

"China is laughing at us. Laughing."

Also attending the meeting – the account of which was confirmed to Axios by anonymous sources – were U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, senior trade adviser Peter Navarro, top economic adviser Gary Cohn, staff secretary Rob Porter and Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon, who was ousted not long after.

"John, let me tell you why they didn't bring me any tariffs," Trump said. "I know there are some people in the room right now that are upset. I know there are some globalists in the room right now. And they don't want them, John, they don't want the tariffs. But I'm telling you, I want tariffs."

Kelly eventually ended the meeting, assuring Trump the group would work things out and reconvene later.

"The president has been very clear about his agenda as it relates to trade," a White House official told Axios. "Discussions pertaining to specific tariffs and trade deals are ongoing and have already resulted in many positive developments."

Regardless of what these advisers believe personally about trade, they are working for the president of the United States.  He has ordered them to pursue a policy.  They have, so far, refused.  They are playing bureaucratic games and dragging their feet.

Trump has every right to fire them.  But that would cause even more consternation about the chaos in the White House.  So Trump gave them a direct order and is counting on Kelly to follow through.

To be clear, this happens in every administration.  Policy differences among advisers is usually helpful to a president, as he gets to hear all sides of an argument.  But in this case, the argument is over.  The president has decided, and it is up to his advisers to come up with ideas on how to implement the policy.

If they disagree strongly enough with the policy, they can always resign.

Again, this is not indicative of any "chaos" in the White House.  It's just the routine give and take that goes on constantly about the president's policies.  It's also not unusual for a president to get pushback from advisers who disagree.  But Trump has put his foot down, and the advisers have been given their marching orders.

I imagine that the next time they meet, they will have something the president will be more pleased with.

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