National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Rep. Steve Stivers Friday argued against President Donald Trump's call for tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, saying he tried to intervene with Trump before his announcement Thursday afternoon.
Later, during the same interview, the Ohio Republican found himself in a heated debate with MSNBC "Morning Joe" contributor Donny Deutsch over the sales of assault rifles in the United States.
Stivers' state, through its automaking industry, would be hit by tariffs, and he told MSNBC Friday he does not agree with Trump's decision, but as he is the president, "he gets to make the call."
"It might not be catastrophic," Stivers said but he doesn't think the tariffs are a good idea. Further, he does not think trade wars end well.
In years past, Ohio's steel mills were a powerful industry, but now, there are a many more companies that use steel instead, said Stivers.
"There are other ways to deal with dumping, like the World Trade Organization," said Stivers. "We could do complaints there. There are legitimate issues that the president's trying to address with dumping but I think there was a better way to address it."
The tariffs, if enacted, will raise the prices for suppliers not only in the auto industry, but for anybody who cans anything, "whether it's beer or vegetables," said Stivers. However, the rule hasn't been enacted yet, so there may be time to work matters out, he noted.
"I do not believe a tariff says good idea, but, you know, certainly there are some people who think it is a good idea and we need to come to a common understanding and making sure," said Stivers.
The talk then shifted to politics and then guns, leading to the argument over assault rifles.
"I'm a dad and I'm for some issues on guns," said Stivers. "I've been in the military 34 years. I'm brigadier general of the Army National Guard and I can tell you an AR-15 is nothing like an M-16 or an M-4. What matters is not cosmetic features and what it looks like on the outside, it's the guts and what it does on the inside. And an M-4 and an M-16 have automatic fire. An AR-15 is a semiautomatic weapon. It's not a military weapon; it's meant to look like it."
Stivers said that there are many people who want to get rid of bump stocks devices, but with 2.5 million AR-15 weapons in the country, he thinks it's important for now to talk about school safety.
But after show hosts Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist argued that AR-15s are indeed deadly, and Stivers tried to return the conversation to one about school safety, Deutch cut him off, yelling at him that "you need to get rid of the assault weapons! You know what you need to do!"
Scarborough urged Deutsch to be respectful to Stivers, and cut off the segment.
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