Former Reagan budget director: 'Steel industry are crybabies' and Trump is their 'biggest sucker yet'

Former Reagan budget director: 'Steel industry are crybabies' and Trump is their 'biggest sucker yet'
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President Reagan's former budget director said Thursday that the "steel industry are the crybabies of the Beltway lobby farm" and that President TrumpDonald John TrumpLieu: There will be 'widespread civil unrest' if Trump fires Mueller Attorneys for Trump, Mueller hold face-to-face meeting to discuss potential interview topics: report Trump tariffs not helpful for nuclear talks, South Korea says MORE is their "biggest sucker yet."

David Stockman, who served under Reagan as his director of the Office of Management and Budget from 1981-1985, made the comment during an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN. The discussion focused on the president's decision to officially enact a 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum.

"The steel industry are the crybabies of the beltway lobby farm," Stockman said. "They gang-tackle every new president that comes in with their tale of woe. In this case, they’ve got the biggest sucker yet." 

"And this whole thing is a giant mistake. I was involved way back in 1982 when I negotiated for the Reagan administration and an 18 percent quota on foreign steel, and they all pledged on their honor after five years they would be competitive, they wouldn’t need the protection anymore," he continued. "And here we are, 30 years later and they’ve had in protection in one decade after another, and it’s still the same old story." 

"So when you say the steel lobby is very effective here in Washington and they’re dealing with the biggest sucker, who is the biggest sucker?” Blitzer later asked. 


“Well, the one in the Oval Office," Stockman replied. "That’s the one I’m talking about. I mean, somehow he thinks that a 17th-century version of mercantilist trade policy is going to make America grow again. That isn’t remotely correct." 

Trump faced widespread criticism from members of his own party by following through on his campaign pledge to protect American factories from unfair imports while reviving the steel and coal industries.  

"Today, I am defending America’s national security by placing tariffs on foreign imports of steel and aluminum," Trump said Thursday at an event with steel and aluminum workers in the Roosevelt Room. 
"This has been an assault on our country," he added.  

The president exempted Canada and Mexico from the tariffs on a temporary basis in an effort to discourage trading partners from retaliating with tariffs against the U.S. 
Some Democrats and the country's largest federated union, the AFL-CIO, have endorsed the president's decision.