White House Faults Steel Company, Not Trump’s Trade Policies, For Mill Closure

Peter Navarro, the White House's director of the office of trade and manufacturing policy.Screengrab/CNBC Television/YouTube

JakeThomas

White House adviser Peter Navarro said US Steel simply "did not adapt with the times. They are paying for it dearly."

US Steel is closing one of its mills near Detroit, Michigan, in the coming months, according to CNN, resulting in the loss of more than 1,000 jobs — but the White House says the company is to blame, not President Donald Trump’s tariffs and trade policies.

The company intends to wind down its iron and steelmaking operations at the Great Lakes Works by April 1, with “part of the mill that rolls slabs into sheets of steel will shutter by the end of next year.” In the end, about 1,500 people will be out of work, US Steel projected.

"We are conscious of the impact this decision will have on our employees, their families, and the local community, and we are announcing it now to provide them with as much time as possible to prepare for this transition," said David Burritt, the company’s CEO. "These decisions are never easy, nor are they taken lightly."

Trump’s 25 percent tariff on steel imports was intended to boost the U.S. steel industry, but the effect did not last long. Steel prices initially rose, but now they have fallen and the industry continues to struggle, CNN noted.

Peter Navarro, the White House's director of the office of trade and manufacturing policy, told the news outlet that US Steel’s mill closing is indicative of problems within the company — but Trump’s trade policies have nothing to do with it.

"I think the bet [on tariffs] is paying off beautifully," Navarro said. "We are very bullish on the steel and aluminum industries because of the tariffs. If they weren't in place, those industries would be in very bad shape right now."

He added that US Steel "did not adapt with the times. They are paying for it dearly."

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