Thursday on CNN’s Republican presidential debate, Donald Trump said a “trade war” wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing if it means putting the country in a better position.
Trump’s remarks, however, drew a swift rebuke from his opponent Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and the two traded jabs over where some of Trump’s products have been manufactured.
Partial transcript as follows:
BLITZER: If the — if the Mexicans don’t pay for the wall, will you start a trade war with Mexico?
TRUMP: “You know, I don’t mind trade wars when we’re losing $58 billion a year, you want to know the truth. We’re losing so much. We’re losing so much with Mexico and China, with China, we’re losing $500 billion a year. And then people say, oh, don’t we want to trade? I don’t mind trading, but I don’t want to lose $500 billion. I don’t want to lose $58 billion. Mexico just took carrier operation, maker of air-conditioners. They just took Ford. They’re building a $2.5 billion plant. They just took Nabisco out of Chicago. And I always say, I’m not having oreos anymore, which is true, by the way. But they just took a big plant –”
RUBIO: “Yeah, a couple points. If he builds the wall the way he built Trump Towers, he’ll be using illegal immigrant labor to do it.”
TRUMP: Such a cute sound bite.
RUBIO: “It’s not a sound bite. It’s a fact. Again, go online and google it. Donald Trump, Polish workers. The second thing about the trade war, I don’t understand, because your clothes and the tie you wear are made in Mexico and in China. You’ll be starting a trade war against your own ties and our own suits.”
TRUMP: They devalue their currencies.
RUBIO: Make them in America.
TRUMP: You don’t know a thing about business.
RUBIO: Well, make them in America.
TRUMP: Let me just tell you, they devalue their currencies, China, Mexico, everybody, Japan, with the cars. They devalue their currencies to such an extent that our businesses cannot compete with them. Our workers lose their jobs.
RUBIO: That’s why you make them in China and Russia.
TRUMP: You don’t know anything about it because you’re a lousy businessman.
RUBIO: I don’t know anything about bankrupting companies. I don’t know anything about starting a fake university.
Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN