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Trump defends tariff plan, says ‘trade wars are good’ as markets drop



President Donald Trump on Friday defended his controversial plan to slap huge tariffs on imported steel and aluminum amid intense GOP criticism and a growing global backlash, saying “trade wars are good, and easy to win” as international markets braced for more losses.

“When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win,” Trump tweeted early Friday. “Example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade anymore — we win big. It’s easy!”

A short time later, he returned to add, “We must protect our country and our workers.”

“Our steel industry is in bad shape. IF YOU DON’T HAVE STEEL, YOU DON’T HAVE A COUNTRY!” he said.

Trump’s morning tweets were in reference to his announcement Thursday that the U.S. would levy tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on imported aluminum — a move that prompted fierce criticism from Republicans in Congress and dire warnings of retaliation from the country’s trading partners, as well as led markets to tank.

Key players on Capitol Hill, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, the Senate Finance Committee chairman, were not given any heads up about Trump’s tariff announcement, and many broke ranks with Trump in an unprecedented way, with one after another coming forward during the day to caution about the dangers of tariffs and plead with Trump to hold off on any action.

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., slammed Trump’s concept of a “good” trade war in a statement Friday, and said fighting one would only lead to “so much losing.”

“Trade wars are never won. Trade wars are lost by both sides. Kooky 18th century protectionism will jack up prices on American families — and will prompt retaliation from other countries,” Sasse said. “Make no mistake: If the president goes through with this, it will kill American jobs — that’s what every trade war ultimately does. So much losing.”

Canada, a close U.S. ally and large trading partner, said Thursday that it viewed “any trade restrictions on Canadian steel and aluminum as absolutely unacceptable.” The nation’s minister of foreign affairs warned that her country could “take responsive measures to defend its trade interests and workers.”

The prospects of a trade war pushed the Dow down over 400 points at the close of trading on Thursday — and the decline continued into Friday’s session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by more than 300 points, or 1.2 percent, in morning trading, before rallying to end the day down 0.3 percent. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite indexes both closed the day in positive territory after suffering losses earlier.

Trump’s decision, however, earned praise from at least one corner.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who has been a proponent of tariffs and helped engineer the meeting that led to Trump’s surprise announcement on the actions, told CNBC that the controversy surrounding the tariffs was just “hysteria” and “a lot to do about nothing.”

In an unusual interview with the network that involved props, Ross, holding up at one point a can of Campbell’s Soup and at another point a can of Coca-Cola, claimed that the potential price increases on consumer products that could result from the steel and aluminum tariffs would be “no big deal.”

“Well I just bought this can today at a 7-Eleven down here, and the price was $1.99, so who in the world is going to be too bothered by six-tenths of a cent?” he said, holding up the Campbell’s can.

Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, in brief comments to reporters Friday morning, acknowledged that some details still “needed to be finalized” on the plan, but said Trump remained “pretty committed” to his announcement.

When asked about Trump’s supporting the idea of a trade war on Twitter, Sanders replied that the “president is still focused on long-term economic fundamentals” and “incredibly focused on the American worker and feels like both the steel and aluminum industry are both the backbone of this country.”

She also dismissed reports that Gary Cohn, the White House’s top economic adviser, could leave his position in protest of the administration’s tariff plan.

“I don’t have any reason to think otherwise right now,” she said, when asked whether Cohn would leave.

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U.S. has administered over 309 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, CDC says



The United States had administered 309,322,545 doses of Covid-19 vaccines and distributed 374,398,105 doses in the country as of Sunday morning, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Those figures were up from the 308,112,728 doses of vaccine that the CDC said had been administered as of Saturday, out of 374,397,205 doses delivered.

The agency said 173,840,483 people in the United States had received at least one dose of a vaccine, while 143,921,222 people were fully vaccinated as of 6 a.m. ET on Sunday.

The CDC tally includes the two-dose vaccines from Moderna Inc and Pfizer Inc/BioNTech/ as well as Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine.

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Nigel Farage SHOULD be honoured for 'services to EU exit' – 'He's the man of the Century!'



DOZENS of influential figures have been rewarded in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for their services to Brexit – but one former MEP has pointed out that Nigel Farage has been excluded.

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Queen Elizabeth II hosts Bidens at Windsor Castle



LONDON — They met Friday at the Group of Seven summit, but President Joe Biden and the first lady had an altogether more private meeting with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II on Sunday, at her home in Windsor Castle.

The monarch, 95, received the Bidens for tea at her historic residence, about 30 miles west of London. On arrival they were greeted with an official Guard of Honor military parade, which gave a royal salute and played the American national anthem.

Biden stood next to the queen in the sunshine, wearing his aviator sunglasses, before inspecting the troops in the quadrangle of Windsor Castle, last seen on television during the somber funeral ceremony of her husband, Prince Philip, who died aged 99 in April.

The queen has stoically continued with her official duties since then and met Biden alongside other world leaders and their spouses on Friday at the G-7 summit, by the seaside in Cornwall, southwest England.

There, she amused leaders when she quipped during a photo-call: “Are you supposed to be looking as if you’re enjoying yourselves?”

Biden first met the queen in 1982 as a Democratic senator for Delaware but this time he joined her as president. He is the 13th serving president the monarch has met. She has met every serving American president since Dwight Eisenhower — except Lyndon Johnson who did not travel to Britain while in office.

As a 25-year-old princess in 1951, she also stayed with President Harry S. Truman and his family in Washington, D.C.

The queen has hosted four other American presidents at Windsor Castle in recent years, including former-President Donald Trump in 2018, who shocked press and palace pundits when he breached royal protocol by walking ahead of the queen, at times blocking her view and giving her his back.

After a state visit in 2019, Trump told Fox News: “There are those that say they have never seen the queen have a better time.”

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On arrival to England last week, first lady Jill Biden told reporters that meeting the queen was “an exciting part of the visit for us.”

She also undertook a separate engagement with Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, when the two visited a school on Friday.

Kate told NBC News during the visit that she was looking forward to meeting her new niece, Lilibet Diana, born in California earlier this month.

Britain’s royal family have had a turbulent year in the public eye following a bombshell interview given by the queen’s grandson Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.

The couple stunned viewers with allegations of royal racism — denied by the palace — while Meghan also spoke publicly about how royal life and media pressure had taken its toll on her mental health.

After taking private afternoon tea with the queen on Sunday, Biden will then travel to nearby Brussels for a NATO summit, before heading to Switzerland on Wednesday for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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