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Fox's Bartiromo to Mnuchin: In protecting steel workers, 'you're threatening millions of jobs in other industries'
Fox Business Network's Maria Bartiromo on Wednesday asked Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin if he is worried about "threatening millions of jobs in other industries" by attempting to protect "thousands of jobs in the steel industry" with tariffs.
"Do you worry that while you're trying to protect the hundreds of thousands of jobs in the steel industry, you're threatening millions of jobs in other industries? So you've got a steel industry that you're talking about, what, 600,000 jobs or 650,000 jobs, but you're talking about 6.5 million jobs of those companies that are actually importing steel, importing aluminum. Their costs will go up," Bartiromo said to Mnuchin on "Mornings with Maria."
"Maria, I can assure you, the president is very focused on jobs. As you know, it's his number one priority. The president is not going to do anything that creates job loss in these other areas," Mnunchin said. "Again, we have a - a thought-out process. This is something we've been talking about for a long period of time. And, again, it's just part of the overall economic plan."
"So we're comfortable with the economic impact and we're going to be careful. Again, there's - there's a process, whether it's specific steel that we need, that there will be a process to exempt certain things that we can't make here. Again, we're going to be very focused on the impact on jobs," he said.
The conversation came one day after President Trump's top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, resigned due to his staunch opposition to the president's tariffs policy, which includes a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum imports.
Bartiromo on Wednesday also pressed Mnuchin on the tariffs' impact on growth.
"I know that your priority has been jobs and economic growth. But if you actually see these tariffs take away from that growth, was it worth it?" Bartiromo asked.
"Again, Maria, we are very focused. I think we've talked about 3 percent sustained economic growth. Last year there were a lot of people who said that would never be achievable. We've had two quarters so far of above 3 percent," Mnunchin said. "I can tell you, the president couldn't be more focused on growth. That's the number-one area of focus."
"So what you're saying is, these tariffs will not impact economic growth?" the former CNBC anchor asked.
"We're comfortable that we're going to manage through this so it is not detrimental to our growth projections," said Mnunchin, a former executive at global investment bank Goldman Sachs.
Trump has been on the receiving end of widespread criticism, particularly from fellow GOP members on the decision over fears the tariffs could hurt the economy while sparking a trade war.
Some Democrats and the AFL-CIO, the largest union federation in the country, have endorsed the decision.