As Donald Trump’s approval ratings continue to flounder amid the ongoing Russia scandal and the president’s own out-of-control Twitter habit, the White House is going back to his base. Axios is reporting that one option being considered is making good on Trump’s protectionist rhetoric by imposing 20 percent tariffs on steel and other goods.
Trump’s own cabinet is against this move, with only a few exceptions. At a recent meeting, 19 of 22 assembled officials were against the policy, but Trump, who was among the minority, can override the rest. The push for protectionism is driven by a small inner circle that includes Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, trade policy director Peter Navarro, and nationalist ideologues Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller.
According to Axios, aside from this core group, “Everyone else in the room, more than 75 percent of those present, were adamantly opposed, arguing it was bad economics and bad global politics. At one point, Trump was told his almost entire cabinet thought this was a bad idea. But everyone left the room believing the country is headed toward a major trade confrontation.” If this trade war comes, it’ll be because Trump is desperate to hold on to the minority support he still has left.