O'Rourke hammers Trump on tariffs: The damage 'has already been done'

Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke hammered President TrumpDonald John TrumpBusiness, ballots and battling opioids: Why the Universal Postal Union benefits the US Sanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth MORE over his trade policies after the White House announced Friday it had reached an immigration deal to avoid slapping tariffs on all imports from Mexico.

“The damage from this president’s disastrous tariffs has already been done,” O’Rourke, a former Texas congressman who represented the border town of El Paso, said in a press release.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Farmers, ranchers, manufacturers and entire communities of Americans have paid the price for these trade wars. What we see is another example of Donald Trump trying to be both the arsonist who created this problem in the first place and the firefighter who wants credit for addressing it,” he added. 

The White House has engaged in a multifront trade war to rectify what the president slams as a slate of trade imbalances. The efforts have seen China place retaliatory tariffs on goods from agricultural areas that supported Trump in 2016. 

O’Rourke’s campaign noted that American farmers’ personal income dropped by an annualized $11.8 billion in the first quarter of 2019 despite a $12 billion subsidy plan to help those who bore the brunt of the trade war.

“As a lifelong resident of El Paso, Beto uniquely understands the impacts of a trade war with Mexico on our American economy and the Americans who depend on trade to run their businesses and support themselves and their families,” the campaign said.

Trump had threatened to impose tariffs on Mexico starting next week unless Mexico City ramped up its efforts to curb illegal border crossings into the U.S. He announced Friday evening that a deal had been reached that included more stringent immigration enforcement measures to avoid levying the tariffs.