Top White House adviser Peter Navarro said Wednesday that "we're going to have the backs of American workers and American farmers" amid concerns of a trade war erupting over President Donald Trump's plan to impose $50 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports.
"We're doing everything possible," Navarro, director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, told Erin Burnett on CNN.
Beijing retaliated Wednesday, slapping duties on 106 American imports — including soybeans, pork, cars and chemicals.
"What we have here is a situation where they have been basically punching us in the belly, in the face, for years," Navarro said. "All we're doing now is self-defense, defending ourselves.
"And the way they expect us to react is to punch us some more and basically try to hit American farmers most directly.
"I don't think the American people are going to respond very well to those kind of threats," Navarro told Burnett.
He said that the U.S. has a global trade deficit of $500 billion and that Trump's tariffs seeks to bring China to a point where it "respects the global trading order, that they engage in fair and reciprocal trade.
"They're simply not doing that — and Donald Trump is standing up for the American people.
"We will have the backs of American farmers."
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