In an attempt to move the media spotlight away from the Russian investigation, the White House is making the issue of trade agreements and global trade deals the center of attention in an event called “Made In America Week.”
On Monday, President Donald Trump’s top trade strategist publicized the Trump administration’s policies on trade, specifically the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). New steel tariffs are also expected to be announced in the near future. Both announcements are expected to deliver on Trump’s major campaign promises, as he promised to crack down on what he termed unfair trade practices.
President Trump also attended a colorful display of products manufactured in all 50 states, in the White House on Monday.
Previous attempts to keep Trump on track with themed weeks have been quite unsuccessful and nobody seems to have any expectations as to how this most recent week will keep critics’ attention away from the federal and congressional investigations into the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia.
The Trump administration’s recent efforts to promote its “Made in America” policy gave critics another opportunity to attack the president and his family. Many of the president’s aides were forced to deflect questions regarding why Trump and first daughter Ivanka Trump chose to manufacture many of their products in other countries.
While Ivanka Trump’s clothing line gets its products manufactured in Indonesia, China, and Bangladesh, the Trump Organization itself gets many of its clothing and home décor goods from Mexico, Pakistan, China, and Bangladesh.
Sean Spicer, White House press secretary, managed to parry several questions from reporters, regarding this contradiction between President Trump’s actions and his words, saying it wouldn’t be right for him to discuss the president or his family’s business.
However, in an attempt to defend Trump, Spicer said that he is a businessman and as such, he has a “unique” understanding of regulations and trade policies that make the business environment in the US tough for companies who want to make their products internally.
“In some cases, there are certain supply chains or scalability that may not be available in this country,” Spicer said during an off-camera briefing. “I’m not going to comment on specific products, but I will tell you the overall arching goal is … to grow and invest here in the United States and to grow U.S. workers here.”
According to Trump, his administration’s efforts to renegotiate the NAFTA, pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and a new free trade agreement with South Korea will help the country achieve that goal.
Talking to businessmen and staff in the East Room of the White House, Trump cracked a joke, saying that the head of Omaha Beef wanted to kiss him after finding out that he had managed to finalize a deal to sell American beef in China.
“That’s why I’m here. That’s one of the primary reasons you elected me and [Vice President Pence],” he said. “I know you’re going to see one of the great differences.”
According to him, putting an end to “stupid trade” would increase jobs and help raise wages in the country. “We’re going to end up having a level playing field. I don’t want to say anything more than level, but if the playing field were slanted a little more toward us, I would accept that also, OK?”
While the White House is constantly trying to get the media’s attention to such achievements of the administration, it seems they are getting ignored for the more controversial ones.
On Wednesday, Trump is expected to give a speech on American-made products and also sign a declaration. Later this week on Saturday, he will be going to Newport News, Va., to attend a ceremony to commission the US Navy’s most recent addition to its fleet of aircraft carriers, the USS Gerald R. Ford.
However, it’s pretty obvious that it’s not just the media that is focused on the Russia controversy, as President Trump himself took to twitter on Monday to defend his eldest son. The latest twist in the Russian probe saw Donald Trump Jr. get embroiled in the controversy for meeting a Russian lawyer who promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton.
“Most politicians would have gone to a meeting like the one Don Jr. attended in order to get info on an opponent. That’s politics!” Trump wrote.