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Week in the White House Drama: Tariff Woes Ignite

Talking tariffs, Betsy and Stormy.

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The majority of the drama in the White House this week can be linked to the backlash the administration has faced over the President’s announcement that he will apply tariffs to steel and aluminum. Among the angry include the European Union (EU), Republican leaders, and the American people.

[Wondering who’s who in the White House? Read our guide to the major players]

The Big Drama

The President’s decision to tax steel 25% and aluminum 10%.

This tariff will have drastic implications on the world’s economy, with Mexico and Canada the only countries granted an exemption, mainly because of the president’s desire to restructure the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

President Donald J. Trump is applauded by steel and aluminum industry executives at a meeting on tariffs. (Image: White House)

Tariffs on steel and aluminum stand to have a major impact on some of the United States’ most important allies, including the United Kingdom. The EU has had a particularly angry reaction to the announcement, and have threatened tariffs on key American companies and products such as Levis, Harley Davidson, and bourbon producers.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for an EU exemption, while powers in Asia including Japan and China threatened to take the issue to the World Trade Organization and impose their own tariffs on American industries.

In addition to the outrage expressed by world powers, the Trump White House also felt the backlash of the tariffs with the resignation of top economic advisor Gary Cohn.

Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs president, was seen as the steady presence within the White House – and his departure was a referendum on the tariffs and the possibility of a trade war.

More Drama Bombs

Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the site of the deadly shooting on February 14 that took 17 lives, were angry this week with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ visit to the school.

Her brief visit seemed like a photo op rather than a meaningful visit, with student publications banned from covering DeVos the visit and little more offered to students than thoughts and prayers.

One particularly mismanaged moment during the visit saw DeVos interrupt a therapy session to meet with students, setting the less-than-positive tone.

After Chinese President Xi Jinping successfully got rid of term limits in China, President Trump joked that the idea “was great” and “maybe we’ll give it a try someday,” in a clip obtained by CNN.

Other Major Players

  • Robert Mueller investigates Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, about the $130,000 he paid to porn star Stormy Daniels as part of a non-disclosure agreement for the alleged affair between her and the President. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, also filed a lawsuit this week over the non-disclosure agreement.

 

  • Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Ben Carson makes moves to take down anti-discrimination language from the mission statement. The message would go from one of inclusivity to one of self-sufficiency. Following the announcement, 573 civil rights organizations petitioned HUD to keep the old mission statement, connecting the removal of the message of inclusivity to the anti-immigration sentiments of the Trump Administration. Following the backlash, Carson has attempted to backpedal. Carson was also recently engaged in controversy following the purchase of a $31,000 dining set – which he also backpedaled from.

 

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Rachael Blandau is a senior political science major at Centre College, in Danville, Kentucky. She enjoys writing about the news and her favorite topic - politics.

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