There's a Whole World Inside Trump's Bottle of FIJI

There's a Whole World Inside Trump's Bottle of FIJI

Donald Trump's recent recap of his 12-day, five-nation trip to Asia was overshadowed by, in typical 2017 fashion, something seemingly extraneous: the president's sip from a bottle of Fiji Water in the middle of his address. Political media and late-night comedians seized upon this unscripted moment to point out the hypocrisy of a man who often mocked Senator Marco Rubio's similar episode of awkward, mid-speech hydration. Less noticed, however, was the fact that just by drinking some water, the president had unwittingly debunked a central tenet of his America First trade policy.One of the most—if not the only—consistent aspects of President Trump's public policy is a mercantilist desire to reduce America's trade deficits. It was a common refrain of the Trump campaign and hasn't dipped in popularity since the man took office. In his Asia speech, Trump mentioned trade deficits three times, indicating on each occasion that their diminution is a primary objective of his administration. In short, he argues, because the United States imports more from certain countries—in this speech, China and South Korea— than it exports to them, we are losing at trade due to those countries' cunning manipulation of our market access generosity.

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