Last Friday, the World Trade Organization ruled that the United States violated international trade rules with tariffs imposed by the Trump administration on imported steel and aluminum in 2018. Under dispute was the justification Trump provided at the time: an obscure Cold War-era law that allows presidents to curb imports deemed a threat to national security. China challenged the tariffs almost immediately on the grounds that “the measures were not taken in time of war or other emergency in international relations”; the WTO has now ruled in Beijing’s favor.
Although the Democrats’ hatred of Trump shows no signs of abating, the Biden administration is holding the line on the former president’s tariffs. Adam Hodge, a spokesman for the Office of the US Trade Representative, said the administration “is committed to preserving US national security by ensuring the long-term viability of our steel and aluminum industries.” The WTO dispute-settlement process “has no authority” to review national-security issues, he insisted
“Trump’s populist economic agenda is still reaping dividends.”
The upshot is that Trump’s populist economic agenda is still reaping dividends. On trade, Trump has pushed the Democrats to the left—and back to the protectionist positions many in the party once held when it had a solid claim to representing America’s working class.