Donald Trump: 'We're better off paying a little bit more' for U.S.-made products
Donald Trump again defied Republican orthodoxy during an event in a former factory New Hampshire on Thursday, declaring that “we’re better off paying a little bit more” for consumer products if it means protecting American jobs.
“The goods will also be of a higher quality,” Trump added. “We’re known for that.”
The comments came as Trump builds on the issue that has surpassed immigration as his central campaign theme: that decades of trade pacts have depressed U.S. manufacturing and lowered wages.
Thursday’s speech, which included questions from an invited audience, supplemented a more formal address Trump delivered earlier this week in which he threatened to end trade pacts and impose tariffs. The speech drew criticism from the Chamber of Commerce and other longtime stalwarts of the GOP’s business wing, along with a lengthy rebuke from President Obama.
Trump pushed back against their criticism Thursday, insisting that he is in favor of free trade but that the U.S. has done a poor job of making deals, he said.
“Yes, I’m a free trader,” Trump said.
“Here’s my stance on trading: I want to make great deals for the United States,” he said.
Yet he also threatened to impose taxes of 35% on companies that ship jobs overseas, a step that would likely require congressional approval and one that would not fit the usual definition of free trade.
Trump, in response to a question from the audience, also urged Americans to buy more products that are manufactured domestically. Trump conceded he does a lot of business overseas, though he did not discuss that some Trump-branded products are manufactured abroad.
The presumptive GOP nominee also made a joke about Mexico, a country that has been targeted in many of his immigration and trade policies.
When a plane overhead interrupted his speech, he mused that it came from Mexico: "They're getting ready to attack."