In response to Turkey's decision to prosecute an American Christian pastor for his alleged role in the failed attempt to overthrow the government in 2016, Trump recently doubled his tariffs on steel and aluminium imported from Turkey.
In response Trump's reckless decision to use tariffs in a diplomatic dispute, Turkey has announced retaliatory tariffs totaling about $1 billion which will hit American agriculture, cars, and cosmetics.
Now, in response to Turkey's response, Trump plans to escalate this dispute again and we have reason to believe this is personal for Trump.
We know Trump is beholden to his evangelical base of support and will do almost anything they say like try to ban transgender military service, but it appears that Trump is also personally angry at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for embarrassing him.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said his department is ready to impose more sanctions on Turkish officials in response to Trump's vocal displeasure that his regime has been owned by Erdogan's regime.
Mnuchin’s remarks were prompted by President Donald Trump, who said Turkey has “not proven to be a good friend” to the U.S. Trump complained that his administration had secured the release of a Turkish citizen from an unnamed country on behalf of Erdogan, who didn’t reciprocate by releasing pastor Andrew Brunson.
“We got somebody out for him,” Trump said. “He needed help getting somebody out of some place, he came out. They want to hold our wonderful pastor. Not fair. Not right.”
Maybe that's not fair. Maybe it's not right. Maybe we never should have helped Erdogan in the first place. I personally wouldn't piss on Erdogan if he was on fire.
With all of that said, escalating a trade war with Turkey over this means average people and American businesses will pay a price for it as collateral damage.
Meanwhile, Trump's temper tantrum is pushing Turkey toward closer relations with Russia and Turkey now says they won't comply with sanctions against Iran recently re-imposed by Trump.
This escalating dispute could have far-reaching consequences that Trump almost certainly can't comprehend.