Chris Matthews on Tariffs: Trump Looking Out for Forgotten Workers, Can’t Let China ‘Grab All the Steel’

Donald Trump, Dusty Stevens
The Associated Press

MSNBC host Chris Matthews said President Donald Trump is using tariffs to look out for “people that nobody else is looking out for” and argued that tariffs are also very much a “cultural issue” in the Rust Belt.

“This is Pat Buchanan stuff. It’s economic nationalism… It’s the feeling people have that Trump said ‘I’ll be with you.’ This is a cultural issue as much as an economic issue,” Matthews, the Pennsylvania native who always got the interests of working-class voters before he had thoughts of riding MSNBC’s lurch to the left to win the Democratic nomination for Senate in Pennsylvania years ago, informed the Morning Joe elitists Wednesday on MSNBC. “The battle will be won or lost in 2020 in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. It’s not going to be fought in the high-tech areas of California or New York or Massachusetts.”

When Trump signed the steel and aluminum tariffs on Thursday, he specifically mentioned that “workers who poured their souls” into building the country had been betrayed and said he was delivering on his campaign promise to have their backs.

“Our factories were left to rot and to rust, all over the place. Thriving communities turned into ghost towns. You guys know that, right? Not any longer. The workers who poured their souls into building this great nation were betrayed,” Trump said. “But that betrayal is now over. I’m delivering on a promise I made during the campaign and I’ve been making it for a good part of my life.”

The Hardball host also pointed out that while while sophisticates in places like New York talk about things like “terms of trade” and “least comparative disadvantage,” China is going into Africa and doing “anything they want with their tremendous trade advantage in the world.”

“I think there’s a sense that the Chinese are going to grab all the steel industry. They’re going to take it,” Matthews said. “They can do anything they want with their tremendous trade advantage in the world. We have to do something about that. They’re winning.”

This week on Breitbart News Tonight on Sirius XM Patriot channel 125, Rick Manning from Americans for Limited Government said that the Chinese could potentially blackmail America if China controls the steel supply.

“The risk is the cost when the Chinese decide, ‘We’re not going to sell you steel, and you can’t build stuff anymore because you’re a threat to our Chinese economy,’” Manning said. “That’s the risk. You make a small investment … to rebuild a domestic industry that’s been harmed by Chinese dumping and allow that industry to grow and thrive and create an environment where we aren’t vulnerable to blackmail on key component parts to having a modern industrial economy.”

On Thursday, Trump also said that the tariffs were also about national security.

“Today, I’m defending America’s national security by placing tariffs on foreign imports of steel,” Trump said. “You don’t have steel, you don’t have a country.”

Manning made a similar point earlier in the week.

“We have a real problem if you do not have steel [or] aluminum and you don’t have the capacity to domestically manufacture that,” Manning said. “You have a national security threat. The last people we need to be dependent upon to be able to produce airplanes and vehicles are the Chinese, who are engaged in asymmetrical war against our country. Until we come to grips with the fact that they’re playing for keeps and we’re playing like nothing’s happening, until we wake up to that, we’re going to face an untenable situation.”

Matthews added that “the gritty people in Pennsylvania that are cheering this on” have a different point of view on tariffs than the “sophisticated in New York with their advanced degrees who don’t need steel to make a living.’

Matthews asked the insufferably smug Morning Joe panel: “How many people talking here for the last hour made any money with their hands lately?”

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