DES MOINES, Iowa — Billionaire left-wing donor-turned-candidate Tom Steyer told Breitbart News in the spin room after Tuesday evening’s Democrat debate that he would not use tariffs on China to force it to adopt climate change policies.
Steer committed onstage at Drake University to eliminating all of President Donald Trump’s tariffs on his first day in office. He later added that the trade war with China had been a failure.
But Steyer also said that climate change was his top priority. China, which produces more greenhouse gas emissions than any other country in the world, has been a persistent obstacle in global negotiations on climate because it insists on exemptions as a “developing” country.
Breitbart News asked Steyer whether he would use tariffs — love them or hate them — as leverage to force China to make concessions on climate.
“The tariffs have failed. All the analysis says the tariffs hurt American workers, hurt American consumers, and are crushing American farmers.
Breitbart News: But [tariffs] hurt China as well. Can’t you use them as leverage? Why not use them as leverage?
Steyer: No. Because there’s a much better way to do this. Mr. Trump’s trade war is a failure. The idea of keeping it in place — you know the old saying —
Breitbart News: But what about a deal?
Steyer: — the first rule of holes is stop “digging.”
Breitbart News: But if the Chinese don’t like it either, why not use it as leverage?
Steyer: Holding the American people hostage is not the way to solve the climate crisis. And it’s not going to work.
As Breitbart News and the Wall Street Journal noted earlier this week, the trade war has defied expectations by having relatively little impact on the U.S. economy.
China and the U.S. signed a “Phase One” trade agreement at the White House on Wednesday, with more negotiations to follow.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.