Democratic candidates lay into Trump on trade

Democratic candidates lay into Trump on trade
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Democratic candidates laid into President TrumpDonald John TrumpMarine unit in Florida reportedly pushing to hold annual ball at Trump property Giuliani clashes with CNN's Cuomo, calls him a 'sellout' and the 'enemy' Giuliani says 'of course' he asked Ukraine to look into Biden seconds after denying it MORE’s trade policy at Thursday night’s debate, characterizing it as an erratic approach that has hurt America’s economy.

“We’ve got a guy in the White House who is erratic on trade policy. He conducts trade policy by tweet, frankly, borne out of his fragile ego,” Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisTwo former Congressional Black Caucus chairmen back Biden Strippers, 'Hustlers' and the Democratic debates 2020 Dems honor Emily Clyburn MORE (D-Calif.) said.

“He reminds me of that guy in the 'Wizard of Oz' — when you pull back the curtain it’s a really small dude,” she said, drawing laughter from the audience.

Harris also rebuked Trump for alienating U.S. allies and forging close relationships with dictators, saying a unified front is needed in dealing with China.

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharDemocrats will not beat Trump without moderate policy ideas Harris revamps campaign presence in Iowa Sanders, Yang to miss CNN's town hall on LGBTQ issues MORE (D-Minn.) said the trade war had cost the U.S. economy 300,000 jobs.

“He has put us in the middle of his trade war, and he is treating our farmers and our workers like poker chips in one of his bankrupt casinos,” she said, blasting Trump for frequently changing his position in the negotiations.

“I wouldn’t have put all these tariffs in place, and I wouldn’t have had a trade policy where on Aug. 1 he announces he’s going to have tariffs on $300 billion of goods, on Aug. 13th he cuts it in half, a week later he says he’s going to reduce taxes, the day after that he says he [won’t] do it,” she said.

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes Buttigieg calls Warren 'evasive' on Medicare for all Overnight Energy: Trump officials formally revoke California emissions waiver | EPA's Wheeler dodges questions about targeting San Francisco over homelessness | 2020 Dems duke it out at second climate forum MORE accused Trump of lacking a strategy, noting how long the trade war has dragged on and intensified instead of being easily won, as Trump had promised.

“When I first got into this race, I remember President Trump scoffed and said he’s like to see me making a deal with [Chinese President] Xi Jinping,” Buttigieg said, referring to comments Trump made at a rally in May deriding him.

“I’d like to see him making a deal with Xi Jinping,” Buttigieg added.

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes Krystal Ball calls on Sanders to follow Yang's lead on war on drugs Buttigieg calls Warren 'evasive' on Medicare for all MORE (I-Vt.) took the opportunity to distance himself from former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenGiuliani clashes with CNN's Cuomo, calls him a 'sellout' and the 'enemy' Giuliani says 'of course' he asked Ukraine to look into Biden seconds after denying it Trump whistleblower complaint involves Ukraine: report MORE, who supported trade deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement. But he also had harsh words for Trump.

“Trump thinks that trade policy is a tweet at three o’clock in the morning,” he said.

But while the candidates argued that they would have approached China more strategically and shied away from tariffs, none said they would repeal them immediately, and many argued for the kind of negotiated settlement Trump is seeking.

“I would not repeal the tariffs on Day 1,” said entrepreneur Andrew YangAndrew YangKrystal Ball calls on Sanders to follow Yang's lead on war on drugs Overnight Energy: Trump officials formally revoke California emissions waiver | EPA's Wheeler dodges questions about targeting San Francisco over homelessness | 2020 Dems duke it out at second climate forum Again, DNC debate moderators fail to ask about democracy issues MORE. “I would let the Chinese know that we need to hammer out a deal, because right now the tariffs are pummeling producers and farmers in Iowa who have obviously nothing to do with the imbalances that we have with China."

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes Buttigieg calls Warren 'evasive' on Medicare for all Sanders hits 1 million donors MORE (D-Mass.) argued that the approach to striking trade deals needed to be reworked altogether, allowing unions, environmentalists, farmers and human rights activists to be part of trade negotiations.

Tariffs, she said, were not necessary for leverage on China.

“The leverage, are you kidding? Everyone wants access to the American market,” she said.

“That means we have the capacity to say right here in America, you want to come sell goods to American consumers? Then you’ve got to raise your standards.”

Warren has suggested that countries need to meet certain requirements on a slew of issues such as labor and environmental standards to qualify for U.S. trade deals.

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerOvernight Energy: Trump officials formally revoke California emissions waiver | EPA's Wheeler dodges questions about targeting San Francisco over homelessness | 2020 Dems duke it out at second climate forum Two former Congressional Black Caucus chairmen back Biden Strippers, 'Hustlers' and the Democratic debates MORE (D-N.J.) said Trump is trying to go it alone on China.

“On trade, he’s decided to take on China while at the same time taking on tariff battles with all of our allies,” Booker said, noting that Trump was using national security-based legal justification to impose tariffs on Canada.

“I’m the only person on this stage that finds [Canadian Prime Minister Justin] Trudeau’s hair very menacing, but they are not a national security threat,” the bald Booker joked.