President-Elect Donald Trump is riding high during the post-election honeymoon phase, but conservative commentator Pat Buchanan predicted it might be shattered by an unlikely source — the Republican Congress.
Buchanan, whose two presidential runs could be viewed as the ideological forerunners to Trump’s own successful bid this year, said on “The Laura Ingraham Show” Wednesday that Trump almost certainly will need some sort of “border tax” on imported goods if he hopes to fulfill campaign promises to reverse massive trade deficits with major trading partners.
“No great nation every rose to be an industrial power and economically independent through free trade.”
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“Here’s where he’s going to run into a real crunch with the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable and all these transnational companies, which have already re-sited their factories and plants, and they’re doing it today abroad in Mexico and Asia and China and all the rest,” he said. “And you gotta take away the economic incentive for doing that from the executive board. And that’s going to take some tough decisions.”
Buchanan said America built itself into a world power — one that not only was a manufacturing powerhouse but also self-sufficient — through tariffs that kept income taxes low.
“This has worked. It worked for [19th-century Prussian statesman Otto von] Bismark,” he said. “It’s worked for all these other countries. No great nation every rose to be an industrial power and economically independent through free trade. Free trade is Hong Kong. But Hong Kong sits there at the mercy of China.”
Buchanan also commented on the drawn-out search for a secretary of state. He suggested that 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney would not be a good fit.
“The behavior in the campaign, which was not only to oppose him for the nomination and be very rough on him — look, Trump was rough on folks — but then to seek to defeat the nominee and to put a candidate up there in Utah to siphon off electoral votes and put Hillary Clinton in the White House,” he said, would make Romney a poor choice for secretary of state.
“And the character of some of the statements he made. I’m sort of astonished with that. And there’s no doubt the Republican base, or the the Trump base and part of the Republican base, [are] very unhappy with Mitt Romney.”
Buchanan also threw cold water on another potential candidate who has been critical of Trump — former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman.
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“Huntsman clearly is not, you know, in the same area in terms of foreign policy as I am or you are … But my guess is or my feeling is that, you know, I just don’t know exactly why [Trump’s] continuing down this road, why he hasn’t made a decision yet,” he said.