Republican primary candidate Kevin Nicholson, who is seeking to be elected as the U.S. senator from Wisconsin against incumbent Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), praised President Donald Trump’s trade negotiations during a Monday Breitbart News Tonight interview with Breitbart News Senior Editors-at-Large Rebecca Mansour and Joel Pollak.
Mansour asked Nicholson about the importance of international trade as an issue in Wisconsin’s senatorial race, referencing a Sunday-published tweet from Nicholson’s Twitter account:
.@tammybaldwin: we do need better trade deals, not the ones engineered by you and other members of the political class. We must bring trade partners back to the table and do away with tariffs. You don’t fight for WI and you don’t understand our economy. https://t.co/CNlgKqEID7
— Kevin Nicholson (@KevinMNicholson) August 12, 2018
Nicholson replied, “What the president is trying to do — and succeeding at, quite frankly — is bring our trading partners back to the table and renegotiate bad deals for the people of Wisconsin and the entire country.”
Nicholson added, “We currently allow Canada to slap a 270 percent tariff on Wisconsin dairy products that are sent to Canada. That’s not free trade, yet it exists within the construct of the North American Free Trade Agreement.”
Nicholson continued, “Look at China. Look at the E.U. Look at India. Look at all these countries that have slapped tariffs or subsidized their own industries and basically giving an unfair competitive advantage to their industries and put us, the American people, at a disadvantage. The president gets it. He’s trying to hold them to account. And if you have any question if it’s working, look at the E.U. already coming back to the table and saying that they will, in fact, drop tariffs. It does work. Sometimes you need to be hard-nosed in negotiations to actually get traction and get things done.”
America must leverage its economic advantages in pursuit of “fair competition,” said Nicholson.
“Professional politicians [and] the political class have engineered all these deals that put us in a disadvantage and allow other countries to slap tariffs on us,” said Nicholson. “Look, trade is a good thing, but the president is right that we actually need to do trade strategically and intelligently and not give strategic advantage to others. Tammy Baldwin and other professional politicians who can complain all they want about what the president’s doing, but they need to reconcile themselves with the American people and explain why these professional politicians sign these deals to allow all these disadvantages to be foisted upon the American people. The president is doing the right thing.”
Nicholson remarked, “You hear all these folks in Washington saying, ‘Well, this makes me uncomfortable. I don’t know what’s going to here.’ Well, the reality is … our trading partners need access to the American consumer market or they’re not going to be successful. That’s an incredible amount of leverage for the American people.”
“The president — because he understands business, finance, and economics — understands that we’re going to pull these people back. We’re going to strike better deals. We’re going to allow competition to reign,” stated Nicholson. “And guess what? I put my bet on the farmers and producers of Wisconsin and throughout the United States of America to out-compete other people, but let’s have that fair competition where we’re not giving advantages to other countries.”
“I feel very confident that the policies the president is pushing to reduce tariffs abroad is [sic] going to help Harley-Davidson,” surmised Nicholson. “Companies make investments in order to work around the bad decisions made by politicians. Harley-Davidson has had to do that to work around all the bad decisions made by the political class in order to still be able to sell their product abroad, and so they do assembly work in places like India because places like India put in place tariffs in order to restrict their ability to ship in finished products. So I get that Harley-Davidson has had to do workarounds around the work of the political class, but what the president is doing is ultimately going to benefit Harley-Davidson.”
Nicholson added, “We want Harley-Davidson to succeed. We want Harley-Davidson to have jobs in Milwaukee and Wisconsin for many, many, many years to come, and I believe that they will because I believe the president’s policies will allow Harley-Davidson to more successfully sell its product abroad than they do today.”
Nicholson rejected descriptions of contemporary international trade as free, describing Trump’s economic objective as a freer international trading arena.
“The status quo is not free trade,” assessed Nicholson. “We can’t let the politicians get away with saying, ‘We’re not comfortable with what the president is doing.’ We all have to turn the question back on them and say, ‘How are you comfortable with the status quo … in a world where [American businesses] are oftentimes disadvantaged in how they can trade and sell their products abroad?’ [Allowing] other countries to fix prices and quotas have [sic] simply distorted markets all over the world. If we want to get back to the point where American labor and American manufacturing can be competitive throughout the world … [we need to] look at the core essence of these deals and what kind of advantages we have given to our trading partners. That’s all the president is saying.”
Nicholson continued, “It is clear as day that [Trump’s] objective is a world without tariffs, and that’s good policy. That’s a good thing to drive to. … Foreign actors, trading partners, allies, adversaries, enemies, they take the president seriously when he says he’s going to do something, and that helps to get people to move. One thing the professional political class never quite understood is that when you have a spine and you say you’re going to do something, people tend to react accordingly. That’s one of the best bits of leverage we have.”
Nicholson said, “Not only is the American consumer market the thing that all countries and all companies want access to; we have a president today that understands that. He’s willing to use it as leverage — not to permanently disadvantage other countries — but to honestly take away the disadvantages that have been foisted upon the American people. He gets it. It’s the right thing for my state and for every state in this entire country.”
Nicholson concluded that Americans must do “whatever we have to do in order to get to a better status quo” on international trade.
Nicholson is a retired U.S. Marine Corps officer and combat veteran.
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