With Republicans controlling all three branches of government, President Donald Trump entered his presidency with significant potential, destroying Crooked Hillary and casting aside her failed trade policies such as job-killing trade agreements. From repealing and replacing Obamacare to passing a widespread ban on immigrants from high-risk areas, many of President Trump’s potential presidential victories have been thwarted by uncooperative colleagues in government.
This lack of support from his counterparts is unfair to the president, and has impacted his public perception and threatened his legacy. While President Trump has a long list of items on his agenda to complete yet, there is one thing ready to give him the victory he needs to renew the public’s faith in his leadership and prove to his voters that they were right to trust him with their ballots.
I wrote in Breitbart on August 23, 2017, right now “President Trump has an opportunity to protect the steel industry” and the president’s Section 232 investigation into steel imports launched April is getting closer to becoming reality. As we get later in the year, and with the lack of domestic steel production hurting the response to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, this is becoming even more important. The hurricanes shut down many of the ports used to import cheap foreign subsidized steel that many rely on. The devastation wrought by the hurricanes to American property, and the fact that domestic steel is needed today to replace imports that are slow to come to the U.S. because of closed ports, shows the immediate need for this investigation to result in action.
In April, the president called on the Department of Commerce to determine the impact foreign steel has on national security. This comes because of many foreign governments, including Brazil, Russia, and China, subsidizing steel manufacturing, which allows their producers to flood other markets with their oversupply. This practice cheats American companies by driving the market price for steel down significantly, thus forcing thousands of Americans out of work when they cannot compete with the artificially low prices.
Correcting this kind of injustice with trade and putting American workers first were major tenets of Trump’s campaign, and have been some of his most prominent governing ideologies. President Trump gave promise to millions of Americans who were forgotten by his predecessors, and he vowed to protect industries under siege by unfair trade practices.
This is not just an economic or a political issue, though. It is most importantly a matter of national security. As the United States loses its ability to produce steel, we become more reliant on foreign nations for key military resources. Steel is a vital material used in the armor, weapons, and vehicles used by our military to keep Americans safe. We have already greatly reduced our ability to source these supplies domestically, and the pattern is set to maintain its course unless something is done to stop it. Otherwise, the United States will continue to rely on foreign suppliers for most our steel needs, and further reduce our ability to be self-sufficient should a military crisis arise.
I applaud President Trump for calling to investigate steel imports, but it is time for him to align his words with action. The results of the Section 232 probe are already long overdue, and he has indicated that he will put the matter on hold until he achieves other legislative victories, namely tax reform. The hurricanes and the threats coming from North Korea show that the increased production of domestic steel is needed today. Victories on both tax reform and domestic steel production are two items that can be done by government at the same time.
While tax reform is a worthy issue, it is also extremely complex and at risk of being stalled by the same individuals who jeopardized so many of President Trump’s other endeavors. President Trump needs to put American workers first.
He should not allow this crisis with steel imports—something so intrinsically linked to both his platform and national security—to be subjected to unforeseen bureaucratic delays. It is in his own best interest, and that of the public, to act swiftly to begin correcting this longstanding wrong.
Curbing dangerous steel imports would give President Trump a public victory to renew the public’s excitement about his leadership, and serve as an important step toward improving an iconic industry in decline. Most urgently though, it will be a motion that helps promote the safety and security of the American people.
As a proud Republican, I urge President Trump to honor his commitments to American workers as we work to help Make America Great Again.