Trump's growing trade gap: A gulf between talk and action

The gap reflects the difficulty of keeping some of Mr. Trump’s specific promises. There is, for example, no evidence that China is manipulating its currency. The Trump administration also is under considerable pressure from congressional Republicans and industry groups to avoid costly economic disruptions.

But the gap also exposes a basic divide on trade policy within the Trump administration.

One group, largely campaign veterans like the economist Peter Navarro, still favors the kind of dramatic measures Mr. Trump promised on the campaign trail. This view resonates deeply with the president, who noted on Friday that tough talk about trade is “probably one of the main reasons I’m here.”

Another group, which includes many of the economic advisers Mr. Trump has added since the election, like Gary D. Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council, are convinced that measured actions on trade will produce better results.

And so far, that second group appears to be winning most of the internal skirmishes.