South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham said Sunday that Americans must “accept the pain that comes with standing up to China,” The Hill reports.
Graham made the remarks during an appearance on CBS’ Face The Nation, where he discussed the concerns raised about President Donald Trump’s China strategy. Trump is being criticized for escalating the ongoing trade war with Beijing by slapping more tariffs on Chinese goods.
According to critics, Trump’s strategy is hurting the American economy, and his tariffs are essentially a tax on the American consumer.
Graham disagrees with that assessment, he told CBS’ Margaret Brennan, defending President Trump against criticism, and arguing that “pain” is simply part of the process.
“The Democrats for years have been claiming that China should be stood up to, now Trump is and we’ve just got to accept the pain that comes with standing up to China,” he said.
“How do you get China to change without creating some pain on them and us? I don’t know,” the senator added.
Graham argued that “every Democrat and every Republican of note has said China cheats,” suggesting that tariffs are the only way to deal with Beijing.
Brennan pressed Graham about one of the inevitable consequences of taxing Chinese goods, reminding the Republican that levies increase prices, which — she argued — burdens Americans, including Graham’s own constituents.
The Trump ally conceded that “consumer prices on commodities are going to go up,” but argued once again that China needs to “feel the pain.”
According to the senator, “until [the Chinese] feel the pain they’re not going to stop … they never will until they feel a heavier price.”
Graham also speculated that China’s strategy is simply to wait until the 2020 presidential election. According to him, Beijing is willing to let the situation play itself out, in hopes that a Democrat wins against Trump.
As The Hill notes, Graham’s comments follow what appears to be disagreement between President Trump and White House officials — the commander-in-chief suggested that he “regrets” escalating the trade war, prompting the White House to release a statement claiming Trump actually meant to say that he “regrets not raising the tariffs higher.”
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the latest escalation in the U.S.-China trade war has rattled the markets. On Friday, when Trump slapped more tariffs on Chinese goods in response to China’s retaliatory levies, the Dow Jones Industrial Average cratered, reigniting fears of an economic recession.
This followed an inversion of the yield curve, which is a strong and reliable predictor of recession. American farmers are not happy with the developments either, and the National Farmers Union has accused Trump of “making things worse, not better.”