In Thursday night’s GOP debate, Donald Trump accused the New York Times of wrongly reporting that he would support a 45% tax on Chinese products imported to the United States.
Trump said that “They were wrong. It’s the New York Times, they are always wrong.” The New York Times fact checked Trump’s Chinese tariff denial, provided audio of his comments and ruled his debate claim false. The audio is here. “I would tax China coming in…I would do a tariff,” Trump said. “The tax should be 45%.”
Fox Business Network host Neil Cavuto had said to Trump during the Jan. 14 debate: “Last week, the New York Times editorial board quoted you as saying that you would impose, up to 45 percent tariff on Chinese goods.” (Video at 16:35 on Part 4)
Trump’s comments were made during a meeting with the Times‘ editorial board and reported in a Times blogpost.
Nicholas Kristof and other New York Times journalists stood by the reporting immediately after Trump’s comments.
Trump denies that he told the NY Times that he urged a 45% tariff on Chinese goods. Hm. I was there. He said it.
— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) January 15, 2016
— Daniel Victor (@bydanielvictor) January 15, 2016
iMediaEthics has written to the Trump campaign to ask if Trump will correct his claim from the debate and for a comment in response to the Times’ publication of the audio backing up its reporting.
Below, see the transcript of the exchange during the debate, via CBS News. [Note, Cavuto said Trump said he would impose, not oppose, which the CBS News transcript incorrectly says. We’ve fixed it below and contacted CBS News about this.]
Video is here, part 4 of the debate, starting at 16:35.
CAVUTO: Mr. Trump, sometimes maybe in the heat of the campaign, you say things and you have to dial them back. Last week, the New York Times editorial board quoted as saying that you would impose, “up to 45 percent tariff on Chinese goods.”
TRUMP: That’s wrong. They were wrong. It’s the New York Times, they are always wrong.
TRUMP: They were wrong.
CAVUTO: You never said because they provided that…
TRUMP: No, I said, ” I would use — ” they were asking me what to do about North Korea. China, they don’t like to tell us but they have total control — just about, of North Korea. They can solve the problem of North Korea if they wanted to but they taunt us.
They say, ” well, we don’t really have control.” Without China, North Korea doesn’t even eat. China is ripping us on trade. They’re devaluing their currency and they’re killing our companies. Thousands of thousands — you look at the number of companies and the number in terms of manufacturing of plans that we’ve lost — 50,000 because of China.
(CROSSTALK) CAVUTO: So they’ve never said to put a tariff on their…
TRUMP: We’ve lost anywhere between four and seven million jobs because of China. What I said then was, “we have very unfair trade with China. We’re going to have a trade deficit of 505 billion dollars this year with China.” A lot of that is because they devalue their currency.
What I said to the New York Times, is that, “we have great power, economic power over China and if we wanted to use that and the amount — where the 45 percent comes in, that would be the amount they saw their devaluations that we should get.” That we should get.
What I’m saying is this, I’m saying that we do it but if they don’t start treating us fairly and stop devaluing and let their currency rise so that our companies can compete and we don’t lose all of these millions of jobs that we’re losing, I would certainly start taxing goods that come in from China. Who the hell has to lose 505 billion dollars a year?