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Politics & Policy

Donald Trump’s Explanation of Why He Blasts China but Makes His Ties There Is Halfway Decent

CNN’s Jake Tapper donned a Donald Trump–brand tie today for his interview with the businessman and potential 2016 presidential candidate, and pressed Trump, who talks tough about trying to bring manufacturing jobs back from overseas, about why he puts his name on ties made in China.

Trump’s answer was pretty reasonable: It’s a business decision that he’s more or less forced into by China’s and the U.S. government’s policies. I can sign onto this so far as it goes: If this is what the market demands, it’s fine for Trump to do that while advocating for new policies that will help bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S.

#related#Unfortunately, Trump’s explanation of why China’s a cheaper place to make ties — that it manipulates its currency — is only a tiny part of the story, at most. But the principle here is sound: Decrying, say, Ford’s moving factories to Mexico isn’t a criticism of Ford, it’s a criticism of U.S.-government policies that have made manufacturing here too expensive.

Of course, some of the issues at play here aren’t government’s fault, and some are bad, short-sighted corporate policies. Still, there’s a kernel of truth here.

Tapper also presses Trump on why he can’t make ties here: Some apparel manufacturers, he notes, even not very expensive ones, produce here. That’s a business decision they can make work, but it’s not easy — and Trump shouldn’t be blamed for not going to those lengths to make it happen. He’s meeting a different market need.

The better question to ask is what policies he thinks will get apparel manufacturers to start coming home — I’m less confident he has the right answer to that.

Patrick BrennanPatrick Brennan is a writer and policy analyst based in Washington, D.C. He was Director of Digital Content for Marco Rubio's presidential campaign, writing op-eds, policy content, and leading the ...


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