Trump defends trade and tariff policies; lauds return of US soldiers' remains

Reuters
Tampa, FL, USA Published: Aug 01, 2018, 01.10 PM(IST)

File photo of US President Donald Trump. Photograph:( Reuters )

US President Donald Trump defended his trade policies on Tuesday (July 31) in a speech in Florida and said American farmers hurt by retaliatory tariffs from China were bearing up, in a sign he is feeling some political heat on the issue.

Trump's rally speech in Tampa contained many elements familiar to his political events. Several hecklers were ejected and the crowd at the state fairgrounds was big and loud. Trump attacked public opinion polls, except one that said he was popular among Republicans.

The president was in Florida to campaign for Republican Governor Rick Scott's bid for a US Senate seat and US Representative Ron DeSantis' campaign for governor.

The president spent considerable time talking about his trade policies, including tit-for-tat tariffs with China that he said would eventually pay dividends for the United States.

The tariffs are causing unease among Republican lawmakers facing tough re-election battles in November, and Trump's focus on them suggested he was concerned about their potential political impact.

China and other top US trade partners zeroed in on American farmers with retaliatory tariffs after the administration imposed duties on Chinese goods as well as steel and aluminium from the European Union, Canada and Mexico.

Trump also defended the denuclearization deal he signed with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in June in Singapore after reports surfaced that North Korea was proceeding with its missile program.

The Singapore summit was long on positive imagery but short on specific benchmarks for North Korea giving up its nuclear weapons.

Trump said the fact that North Korea was starting to return the remains of American dead from the 1950s Korean War and that there had been no nuclear or missile tests were offshoots of the summit. "I think it's going to work out very well," he said. "No tests, no rockets flying. But we'll see what happens."

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