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Trump admits tariffs could cause 'pain' in markets

"We may take a hit, and you know, ultimately we're going to be much stronger for it, but it's something we have got to do," Trump said.
by Adam Edelman /  / Updated 
Image: U.S. President Donald Trump returns to the White House after a trip to Lewisburg, West Virginia, on April 5, 2018.
U.S. President Donald Trump returns to the White House after a trip to Lewisburg, West Virginia, on April 5, 2018.Carlos Barria / Reuters

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President Donald Trump, in an interview that aired Friday morning, admitted that the trade actions he has announced against China could cause some "pain" in the markets.

In a radio interview on "Bernie & Sid in the Morning," on 77 WABC, Trump said there's no current trade war with China because "we have lost the trade war," and he defended his proposed $150 billion tariffs.

"I'm not saying there won’t be a little pain," Trump said. "But the market has gone up 40 percent, 42 percent, so we might lose a little bit of it. But we are going to have a much stronger country when we are finished."

He added, "We may take a hit, and you know, ultimately we're going to be much stronger for it, but it's something we have got to do."

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On Thursday, Trump said he was weighing an additional $100 billion in tariffs on China, on top of $50 billion he'd previously announced, raising the stakes in a potential trade war his top aides have tried to downplay.

China earlier this week announced $50 billion in tariffs on American goods.

Last month, U.S. allies were blindsided by Trump’s pledge to slap stiff tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

Markets have not reacted favorably to the announcements. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost nearly 5 percent since late February, shortly before Trump announced the aluminum and steel tariffs.

National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow stressed Friday that the tariffs were not yet a done deal — following a months-long review and public comment process, he told Fox Business News, "the U.S. may make a proposal on tariffs, or not." While the process was underway, he added, "discussions between the two countries may well be held."

"It is not a trade war," he said.

Trump's interview was taped Thursday morning — before the president claimed during a West Virginia tax event that women "are being raped at numbers never seen before" while an immigrant caravan is heading toward the U.S. and before he told reporters aboard Air Force One that he was not aware of the payment made by his personal attorney to an adult film star that she has claimed was to secure her silence about their alleged affair. He wasn't asked about either topic during his radio interview.

Trump also said he he was likely to again skip the White House Correspondents Association Dinner later this month.

Trump ditched the event last year, becoming the first president to not attend the dinner in over 30 years.

Shortly after the interview was aired, the WHCA confirmed that Trump would not attend the April 28 event.

"The White House has informed us that the president does not plan to participate in this year's dinner but that he will actively encourage members of the executive branch to attend and join us as we celebrate the First Amendment," said Margaret Talev, the group’s president.

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