WASHINGTON — An F-35 Lightning II was parked in the White House driveway Monday, alongside a speedboat and a giant industrial magnet, as President Donald Trump showcased an array of “Made in America” products.
The administration is pushing back aggressively against critics who say his punishing tariffs on imported goods threaten to harm the U.S. economy.
Trump's event with a smorgasbord of American goods came at the start of a week in which trade discussions are expected to dominate, including talks with European officials and a trip to Illinois in which the president is planning to visit a community helped along by his steel tariffs.
On the South Lawn, the president walked among a number of products manufactured across the nation, including a Lockheed Martin F 35 aircraft from Maryland, a Ford F-150 pickup truck from Michigan, a Newmar recreational vehicle from Indiana and a Ranger speedboat from Arkansas.
Trump has vowed to force international trading partners to bend to his will as he seeks to renegotiate a series of trade deals he has long argued hurt American workers. But as he deepens the U.S. involvement in trade fights, it raises questions on whether American consumers will feel the pain of retaliatory tariffs — and whether the president will incur a political price for his nationalistic trade policies in the 2018 midterm elections.
“Our leaders in Washington did nothing, they did nothing. They let our factories leave, they let our people lose their jobs,” Trump said at the White House. “That’s not free trade, that’s fool’s trade, that’s stupid trade and we don’t do that kind of trade anymore.”