Trump on 45% Tariffs: I Didn’t Say I Was Going to Do It; I’d Use It as Negotiating Tactic

‘I only used 45 if somebody is really egregious and, of course, now you have many people that are really egregious’

COOPER: "Your position is actually similar to Bernie Sanders in some way."
TRUMP: "Except I can do something about it. The difference between Sanders and I, I watched him recently. And he is right about one thing. The world is ripping us off on trade. It has been a horrible thing. It has been horrible, horrible experiment. I have been against it for years. You know, if you look back, I have been against it your friend Wolf Blitzer actually did a tape of his interviews with me from like 15, 17 years ago. And I was saying the same thing, a little bit different nations like Japan who is really ripping us off."
COOPER: "But your position is pretty un-Republican. I mean, Larry Kudlow who, you know, is positive about your corporate tax policy, he’s critical of you on trade. He says that essentially it’s going to be raising prices for people on consumer goods, on electronics, on cars and other items. And it’s essentially a tax on people who can’t afford it."
TRUMP: "No, I have heard Larry. And let me tell you what’s going to happen from a practical standpoint, from a negotiating standpoint. The world is ripping us off because of manipulation, monetary manipulation, devaluations, OK. They are great. The greatest player of them all is China. Nobody has ever played the valuation game with their currency better. It’s currency devaluation, than China. China is a grand master. Japan is doing very well. But some of these countries are just absolute masters at it. When we start getting tough, and they think that we’re serious, and I’m totally serious. I would put a tax on it in two seconds."
COOPER: "You talk about a 45 percent tax —" 
TRUMP: "I’ve talked about different taxes. I have also said - I didn’t say I was going to put. I said use it as a negotiating tool, and I would if we couldn’t make the right deal."
COOPER: "But that would raise prices for consumer goods."
TRUMP: "China just devalued their currency recently more than they have at any time in more than two decades. This was like shocking. And the only reason they did it is because we’re weak and have no leadership. It makes it impossible for our companies to compete with Chinese companies and China generally, OK. It makes it absolutely impossible. The threat of me doing this, for instance, the threat of doing it against Japan or China, tell Japan, by the way, when your cars come in you are going to have to pay a 35 percent tax. I sued 35 percent. I only used 45 if somebody is really egregious and, of course, now you have many people that are really egregious."
COOPER: "So you are seeing this as a negotiation tactic?"
TRUMP: "Absolutely. And you know what is going to happen? When they see that we are not playing games, that we are really do because I would do it in a heartbeat. I would love to do it. When they see that we are not playing games, they are going to stop playing with their currencies and they are going to stop taking our jobs to the extent that they are taking them right now."

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