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 TrumpJim Jordan: Latest allegation of ignoring sexual misconduct is 'ridiculous' Trump's schedule shows open morning when impeachment hearings begin Overnight Defense: Families sue over safety hazards at Army base | Lawmakers, NBA's Enes Kanter speak out ahead of Erdoğan visit | Washington braces for public impeachment hearings 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 HarrisOutsider candidates outpoll insider candidates Poll: Buttigieg leads Democratic field in Iowa Press: Another billionaire need not apply 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 KlobucharPress: Another billionaire need not apply Saagar Enjeti dismisses Warren, Klobuchar claims of sexism Warren on winning over male voters: I was told to 'smile more' 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 ButtigiegPress: Another billionaire need not apply Saagar Enjeti dismisses Warren, Klobuchar claims of sexism Warren on winning over male voters: I was told to 'smile more' 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 SandersTech firms face skepticism over California housing response Press: Another billionaire need not apply Ex-Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick mulling 2020 run: report MORE (I-Vt.) took the opportunity to distance himself from former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenDemocrats face make-or-break moment on impeachment Here are the key players to watch at impeachment hearing George Kent: What you need to know 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 YangNew Quinnipiac poll finds Biden leading in New Hampshire Intercollegiate athletics just got a two-minute warning AI and automation will disrupt our world — but only Andrew Yang is warning about it 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 Energy: BLM staff face choice of relocation or resignation as agency moves | Trump says he's 'very much into climate' | EPA rule would expand limits on scientific studies Krystal Ball credits Gabbard's upswing in 2020 race to 'feckless' Democratic establishment Outsider candidates outpoll insider candidates 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 BookerThe Hill's Campaign Report: Bloomberg looks to upend Democratic race Poll: Biden support hits record low of 26 percent The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump demands Bidens testify 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.