Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow insisted that the administration is leading a 'trade coalition of the willing' against China. But Fox News anchor Chris Wallace exposed that lie by simply demanding actual names.
Trump's decision to launch a trade war was a reckless one from the beginning. His economic adviser Larry Kudlow tried to insist that the gambit would be aided by a "coalition of the willing." But Fox News host Chris Wallace easily exposed that lie — by asking for the details.
On Friday, Kudlow told Fox host Stuart Varney that a list of allies was imminent.
"Just give us another 24 to 48 hours—you’re going to see a trade coalition of the willing," Kudlow claimed.
But 48 hours later, that coalition has yet to be announced. And on Fox News Sunday, Wallace challenged Kudlow to put his money — or more accurately, the country's money — where his mouth is.
"You said on Friday that you were going to announce a 'trade coalition of the willing' today, other countries that were going to join us in taking on China. Who are they?" Wallace asked.
Kudlow immediately tried to pretend he'd said no such thing.
"Well, I didn't make this announcement. I'm just observing," he claimed. And when Wallace quoted Kudlow's own words back to him again, he rambled off a list including Japan, Europe, Australia, and Canada.
"They have come to us!" he insisted. But Wallace immediately shot that down, noting that those countries have said nothing about tariffs. Rather, they would simply take the issue of China's trade practices to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Asked again if any other country has joined the administration in threatening tariffs against China, Kudlow stubbornly demurred.
"I can't answer that. I don't even want to answer that," he declared.
Of course, answering questions about Trump's economic policies would seem to be the whole point of an economic adviser sitting down for a television news interview.
But it's not surprising that he's reluctant to admit his claims of a coalition were nonsense. Kudlow himself, as Wallace noted, has been a vocal opponent of tariffs in the past, as recently as March 2018. And he has noted that tariffs tend to hurt the poorest in the nation most.
It was this scheme that likely drove former National Economic Council head Gary Cohn to resign from Trump's White House.
Yet Kudlow is willing to go along with Trump's trade war, even as Trump himself has admitted it'll inflict "pain" on the country. And that pain will be mostly felt in places that strongly backed Trump's campaign.
Kudlow couldn't provide a verifiable list of these ostensible trade war allies because they simply don't exist. What does exist is the very real potential for devastating consequences among the people for whom he once professed concern — before he took a job with Trump.