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Stocks decline as Trump digs in on trade war

U.S. stock markets took a dive Tuesday morning as President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden team wants to understand Trump effort to 'hollow out government agencies' Trump's remaking of the judicial system Overnight Defense: Trump transgender ban 'inflicts concrete harms,' study says | China objects to US admiral's Taiwan visit MORE vowed to keep up the pressure on China in the year-plus trade war.

Trump tweeted before the opening bell that the trade war would cost China businesses, jobs and money, and said he would only get tougher on the world's second-largest economy if he wins reelection in 2020, setting the stage for a prolonged trade battle.

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The president added that if he secures a second term, a deal "would get MUCH TOUGHER!"

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has since fallen 377 points to 26,062, a 1.43 percent drop.

The president also raised the prospect of further escalating trade tensions with European allies, rejecting criticism for fighting a multifront trade war instead of cooperating with the European Union to put pressure on China.

"For all of the 'geniuses' out there, many who have been in other administrations and 'taken to the cleaners' by China, that want me to get together with the EU and others to go after China Trade practices remember, the EU & all treat us VERY unfairly on Trade also. Will change!" he wrote.

On Sunday, Trump followed through with a threat to impose 15 percent tariffs on some $112 billion worth of Chinese imports. He has threatened to increase previous tariffs on $250 billion of imports — from 25 percent to 30 percent, starting next month — and place new 15 percent tariffs on another $160 billion of imports in mid-December.

China has retaliated with its own tariffs on American goods, with a focus on agricultural products.