Under immense pressure from virtually everyone from our foreign allies to Congress and his cabinet secretaries, Trump said this morning that his tariffs on steel and aluminum imports will be "flexible," but what the hell does that mean?
According to the Washington Post, the current "plan" (to the extent that a plan even exists) is to exempt certain countries from the tariffs but only temporarily.
You see, Trump's trade representative Robert Lighthizer still wants to use the tariffs for extortion.
President Trump is planning to offer Canada and Mexico a temporary exemption from new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, reversing his original insistence that the measures apply to U.S. allies as well as nations like China, administration officials said Wednesday.
One version of the plan, which was still being finalized ahead of an expected announcement on Thursday, would give Canada and Mexico a 30-day exemption from the tariffs, the officials said. The exemptions could be extended based on progress in renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The justification for imposing these tariffs was legally dubious even before the White House decided that they would grant temporary exemptions based on something completely unrelated to "national security."
Legality aside, Trump is almost certainly going to have to extend his exemptions or impose the tariffs because we all know 30 days is not enough time to resolve the ridiculous demands Trump and his henchmen are making in their "negotiations" with Mexico and Canada.
And what about Europe? Will members of the EU be granted exemptions? Where do you draw the line, and for what reason?
The White House is working backwards from Trump's demands, scrambling to find reasons for imposing policies that he wants for no substantiated reason.