Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Missouri, says President Trump’s method of negotiating with other countries is to “grab them by the neck and shake them a little bit to get their attention.” He tells Missourinet affiliate KWIX in Moberly that Trump is a businessman who thinks at 30,000 feet and long term. Luetkemeyer, whose district covers 13 counties east-central Missouri, is defending Trump for threatening $50 billion and possibly another $100 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports.

Missouri Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer

“You have to be watching out for a whole lot more things than just a straight tariff war going on between the two countries. The Chinese have been big bullies on the playground for a long, long time. They have subsidized their industries to try and undermine ours, our economy and our workers. This is just the president trying to push back against that bully,” he says. “These guys are some bad actors. The president is trying to get their attention to get them to the table.”

Luetkemeyer, who serves as the U.S. House Small Business Committee vice chair, says China often “slips in the back door” and tries to buy American companies.

“If they (China) can’t buy it one on one in this country, they’ll buy a Canadian company and try and get in that way,” he says.

China is fighting back by proposing $50 billion in tariffs on U.S. products including wheat, pork, beef, corn, cotton, automobiles and aircraft.

“He (Trump) starts at the top with some sort of big, rash statement and then sort of gets down to where he wants to get down to, which is in this situation, a negotiation with the Chinese to be able to stop the nonsense of trying to undermine our industries here,” Luetkemeyer says.

He says it doesn’t make sense for China to impose tariffs on American corn and soybeans. Luetkemeyer says China has built up its agricultural production through hogs and cattle to the point the country can’t do without corn and soybeans.

“There are some other markets in the world they could go to, but they get huge amounts of it from us. So, it’s going to be hard to replace that amount. If they don’t, they’d just raise the price of the corn and beans to their own producers by 25%. So, it’s going to have an inflationary effect on their own economy,” says Luetkemeyer.

Opponents of Trump’s tariffs say his approach could cripple the U.S. economy for many years.

Trump’s tariffs are not set to take effect for 60 days.