Trump Was Reportedly ‘Gunning For a Fight’ and ‘Unglued’ When He Announced Steel Tariffs

Amidst a White House roiled by controversy, President Donald Trump wanted to make a statement of power and dominance. And that, according to a new NBC News report, is why he imposed new tariffs on steel and aluminum.

One official said Trump was angry and belligerent, and had become “unglued” by a number of administrative crises: First, that Chief of Staff John Kelly‘s choice to downgrade security clearance for his son-in-law, Jared Kushner; second, former White House communications director Hope Hicks‘ admission to Congress that she sometimes told “little white lies” on the orders of the president; and third, the ongoing rift between him and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Many in the White House reportedly did not know of the events leading up to the announcement; in fact, according to NBC News, “White House officials were unable to conduct a background check on [steel and aluminum] executives [invited to the White House] to make sure they were appropriate for the president to meet with and they were not able to be cleared for entry by secret service.” Additionally, NBC News reports that “the White House counsel’s office had advised that they were as much as two weeks away from being able to complete a legal review on steel tariffs.

However, another White House official told NBC News that that the communications team that “many of the attendees had been in the White House before and had already been vetted for attendance at a presidential event,” and the team “was well-prepared to support the president’s announcement.”

[image via screengrab]

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