“People haven’t used tariffs,” Trump said, “but tariffs are a beautiful thing when you’re the piggy bank, when you have all the money.”
The president’s gleeful posture struck foreign policy analysts and economists as a clear sign that he intends to intensify his strategy, ramping up the threat of levies against not just China but potentially other countries. Trump already has threatened new auto tariffs on allies, including Japan and Germany, in recent months.
“Where we seem to be right now are that tariffs are a big hammer and every foreign policy problem looks like a nail,” said Richard Fontaine, chief executive of the Center for a New American Security, who has advised several Republican presidential candidates. “Tariffs are the answer to a foreign leader who might not meet with you. They are the answer to the immigration problem. They are the answer to the trade problem. All the way across the board.”