Donald Trump’s surprise announcement this week of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports was borne out of the president being “angry” and “unglued” over several ongoing issues in the White House; anonymous staffers told NBC News.
Trump’s Thursday announcement that he would be imposing strong tariffs on steel and aluminum imports came seemingly out of nowhere on Thursday. And as NBC News reported at the time, the announcement was not well-received: not by the stock markets, not by the aluminum and steel industries, and not by Trump’s own party. And on Friday, rather than reflect on the impact of his announcement and possibly re-consider, Trump instead doubled down.
“Trade wars are good, and easy to win.”
So what spurred on the surprise announcement, which was made without any review from Trump’s own staff, and which by some measures may ultimately harm American businesses and consumers?
According to anonymous White House sources, Trump acted out of anger and frustration. In particular, various problems brewing beneath the surface in the White House have been weighing on the president’s mind. Feeling frustrated and lacking a consensus to govern, say the sources, Trump became “unglued.”
The Hope Hicks Situation
The outgoing White House Communications Director’s plight has weighed heavily on the president, say sources. According to Vox, her reported relationship with Rob Porter, who was let go from the Trump administration for allegations of domestic abuse; her mounting legal bills related to the Mueller investigation; and her admission that she sometimes told “white lies” for the president, have weighed her down. She’s leaving.
Bomb dropped and Hope’s legal fees are gonna go up https://t.co/iv4mtEqcNu
— Raw Story (@RawStory) March 3, 2018
Feuding With Attorney General Jeff Sessions
Meanwhile, Trump can’t seem to see eye-to-eye with his own Attorney General appointee, Jeff Sessions. As NBC News reported earlier this week, Trump is upset with the A.G. over his (Sessions’) apparent refusal to look into surveillance abuses by the FBI in the wake of the Russia probe.
Why is A.G. Jeff Sessions asking the Inspector General to investigate potentially massive FISA abuse. Will take forever, has no prosecutorial power and already late with reports on Comey etc. Isn’t the I.G. an Obama guy? Why not use Justice Department lawyers? DISGRACEFUL!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 28, 2018
The Kushner Situation
Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is also finding himself in a diminished role at the White House, now that his security clearance has been downgraded, according to NBC News.
With the Oval Office in chaos, say the anonymous White House sources, the president has been “gunning for a fight,” and chose a trade war over aluminum imports.
Meanwhile, no one in the White House has prepared anything in support of Trump’s position, as of this writing, and so far there appears to be no clear plan to implement the tariffs.