No, “Tariff Man” is not an upcoming Marvel superhero movie. It’s the latest nickname President Donald Trump has bestowed upon himself.
In a tweet Tuesday morning, the president declared, “….I am a Tariff Man. When people or countries come in to raid the great wealth of our Nation, I want them to pay for the privilege of doing so. It will always be the best way to max out our economic power. We are right now taking in $billions in Tariffs. MAKE AMERICA RICH AGAIN.”
The tweet actually followed three others, in the which the president stated that “negotiations with China have already started,” and that the team participating on the U.S. side includes U.S. Trade Representative Bob Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, White House economic advisers Larry Kudlow and Peter Navarro and Commerce Secretary Wilber Ross.
The purpose of the upcoming series of trade talks is “seeing whether or not a REAL deal with China is actually possible. If it is, we will get it done. China is supposed to start buying Agricultural product and more immediately,” Trump said. “President Xi and I want this deal to happen, and it probably will. But if not remember,” he added, followed by the “Tariff Man” tweet.
Trump ran for president in 2016 vowing to address trade policy in ways outside of the consensus of American politics for the last several decades, and on this he has followed through, applying tariffs multiple times on Chinese goods, to which China has retaliated with tariffs of their own. The U.S. and China agreed to a “truce” in the trade battles, though by no means a final one, at last week’s G20 summit in Argentina.
Trump has also agreed to a modified version of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.
....I am a Tariff Man. When people or countries come in to raid the great wealth of our Nation, I want them to pay for the privilege of doing so. It will always be the best way to max out our economic power. We are right now taking in $billions in Tariffs. MAKE AMERICA RICH AGAIN— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 4, 2018
Critics on Twitter, meanwhile, say Trump has little understanding of how trade works, that the costs of tariffs are often passed on to consumers, and that the tariffs have caused the stock market to drop on most occasions.
Following the “Tariff Man” proclamation, jokesters on Twitter had fun fitting “Tariff Man” into song lyrics, as well as other existing memes. “Tariff Man” editorial cartoons in the coming days seem inevitable as well.
The president, also on Twitter, has given himself various nicknames in the past, including “Mr. Brexit” and “President T,” while his opponents, needless to say, have some presidential nicknames of their own.