I just left the reception for conservative news media held in the Roosevelt Room of the White House late this afternoon. I will write up a fuller account later. For the moment I want to report President Trump’s announcement that he would be imposing a 20 percent tariff or tax on softwood lumber imported from Canada. President Trump was accompanied by Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. He invited Ross to elaborate. Ross explained that the tariff was intended to address a long-simmering problem created by the provincial ownership of softwood stumps that are sold at discounted prices amounting to some $5 billion per year. President Trump characterized the pending tariff as a “countervailing duty” that would be imposed retroactively for 90 days from today (because “they’re on notice,” he explained). He added that dairy might be next.
President Trump took questions from his media guests for 30 minutes. We were told going in that the event was on background. We were told on the way out by Sarah Huckabee that everything the president said was on the record — a good decision. To say he turned in an impressive performance would be a considerable understatement.