Asked if his trade war with China could tip the country into recession, he brushed off the idea as “irrelevant” and said it was imperative to “take China on.”

“It’s about time, whether it’s good for our country or bad for our country short term,” Trump said on Tuesday.

Paraphrasing a reporter’s question, Trump said, “Your statement about, ‘Oh, will we fall into a recession for two months?’ OK? The fact is somebody had to take China on.”

The Republican president indicated that he had no choice but to impose the tariffs that have been a drag on U.S. manufacturers, financial markets and, by some measures, American consumers.