When a publication – any publication from anywhere in the world – even hints at something controversial out of President Trump’s mouth, it becomes headline news from every media outlet on Earth. Oftentimes it’s fake headline news.
Yesterday, Germany’s WirtschaftsWoche ran the following story, “Trump Wants to Block Daimler From the US Market.”
Citing unnamed sources from last month’s White House meeting between Trump and French President Macron, the weekly business publication indicated that “Trump said he would maintain his trade policy until no Mercedes models rolled on Fifth Avenue in New York,” according to Google’s translation of the story.
That led to hundreds of sensational headlines, including: “Trump to Impose Total Ban on Luxury German Cars: Report | TheHill,” “Trump Wants to Ban Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Other German Cars | Fortune,” “Trump Wants to Impose Total Ban On Imports of German Luxury Cars | MSN,” “President Trump Reportedly Poised to Ban German Luxury Carmakers | USA Today,” and so on.
Everyone take a deep breath. More than a year ago, Trump talked about the lack of reciprocity between U.S. and German auto trade. That’s what he’s after: fair trade deals. That’s what he’s been after since his presidential campaign began. This is just his way of putting Germany and German car makers on notice that he means business.
If you read a bit further into the WirtschaftsWoche article it says that Trump’s grudge against Mercedes is nothing new, citing a January 2017 interview with German tabloid Bild where Trump reportedly said, “When you walk down Fifth Avenue, everybody has a Mercedes-Benz parked in front of his house. You were very unfair to the U.S.A. It isn’t mutual. How many Chevrolets do you see in Germany? Not many, maybe none, you don’t see anything at all over there. It’s a one-way street.”
The article also referenced recent reports that the Trump Administration is considering a 25 percent duty on some imports.
Let’s be real folks. You can see where the “Fifth Avenue” rhetoric comes from. It’s just Trump’s way of turning up the heat and pressuring other nations into fair trade deals. Whether you agree that U.S. tariffs on foreign goods are a good idea or not, the truth is that nearly every nation on Earth imposes tariffs on U.S. goods. That being the case, we should seek reciprocal terms.
In the meantime, when you read clickworthy headlines that seem ridiculous, take a chill pill. They usually are.
Image credit: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy