President Donald Trump needs to put on his NBC hat again and say “you’re fired” to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
What Ross just said on live, national TV is beyond the pale. It’s a major detriment to President Trump’s entire agenda, and it will be absolute gold to Democrats in the upcoming election season.
On CNBC this morning, Ross appeared to defend Trump’s proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum. Ross has been a big proponent of these tariffs, and has been one of Trump’s only friends in the White House who supports them.
When questioned on whether the tariffs’ effects of increasing the price of domestic goods was beneficial for struggling American families, here’s how Ross responded:
Wilbur Ross on @CNBC now: “There’s about 1 ton of steel in a car. The price of a ton of steel is $700 or so, so 25% on that would be one half of 1% price increase on the typical $35000 car. So it’s no big deal.” pic.twitter.com/SHJ7gYW9kS
— Carl Quintanilla (@carlquintanilla) March 2, 2018
It only got worse from there:
Wilbur Ross brought props on CNBC to argue that consumers won’t face higher prices from steel and aluminum tariffs. Top five comms strategy of all time? pic.twitter.com/J7mYmWBiWl
— Jack Caporal (@JackCaporal) March 2, 2018
This is utterly tin-eared. How does a government official blithely shrug off increasing the price of a new car just like that? How can he seriously say it’s “no big deal”?
A scholar from the Cato Institute crunched the numbers and found what the true cost of Ross’s tariff would be:
Ooh, this is fun. So a new $175/vehicle tax x 17M vehicles sold in the USA (2017) = almost $3B in new annual consumer taxes, JUST for steel & autos. Then do the same calc for all the other industries and THEN add aluminum taxes, and we’re starting to talk real money! https://t.co/nWsC7x0vDM
— Scott Lincicome (@scottlincicome) March 2, 2018
Cars are hard enough to buy, especially for families who live paycheck to paycheck. Acting like an increase in price by even 1% is something consumers will merely have to deal with speaks to a huge elitism within Ross’s mind. Plus, Ross’s push for steel tariffs may not be all that public-minded after all:
Anyone going to make note of the that the commerce secretary pushing tariffs that would benefit a handful of steel producers founded a consortium of steel producers?
— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) March 2, 2018
On the general issue of tariffs, President Trump surely agrees with Ross. But he could do with a better messenger. In recent months, Trump has actually expressed dissatisfaction with Ross, chiding him for falling asleep in major policy meetings.
Looks to me if you’re going to go on a major cable news show, you shouldn’t come across as a pretentious aristocrat totally removed from the everyday trappings of normal Americans.
President Trump, it’s time to get rid of Secretary Ross. Bring in someone who can actually sell your message.
What do you think? Is it time for Ross to go? Tell us your thoughts below!