Trump promised he was 'rebuilding and expanding' steel industry. Turns out, it's 'got some real problems'

Trump promised he was 'rebuilding and expanding' steel industry. Turns out, it's 'got some real problems'
President Donald J. Trump signs the Section 232 Proclamations on Steel and Aluminum Imports (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

Donald Trump's favorite tough-guy theme with his China tariffs is how he's making "Pennsylvania and USA more prosperous/secure by bringing Steel and Aluminum industries BACK."


Back in January, he claimed "Tariffs on the 'dumping' of Steel in the United States have totally revived our Steel Industry. New and expanded plants are happening all over the U.S. We have not only saved this important industry, but created many jobs. Also, billions paid to our treasury. A BIG WIN FOR U.S." Then in April, "The forgotten voters of the 2016 Election are now doing great," he crowed in April. The Steel Industry is rebuilding and expanding at a pace that it hasn't seen in decades."

Totally revived! Many jobs! Billions paid! So much for that. The price of steel peaked in the summer of 2018 and has been in decline since. Prices for steel are now lower than they were before the initial tariffs were imposed. Car-making and construction is down, so demand is down and "three of the largest steel companies in the country—U.S. Steel, Fort Wayne-based Steel Dynamics and Nucor—all warned their financial results would be worse than projected in the third quarter."

"U.S. Steel's got some real problems," New York City-based steel industry analyst Charles Bradford said. That's an understatement. Wall Street analysts predicted it would lose 6 cents a share this quarter. U.S. Steel says it's going to be 35 cents. "ArcelorMittal's not doing so well either," Bradford continued. "The steel industry's got some real problems."

Any day now, expect Trump to demand a big socialist bailout for the rust belt like he has the grain belt.

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