Tariffs should be part of US trade policy, Trump foe Warren says

Senator Elizabeth Warren at the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs hearing on 'The Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, US, on March 1, 2018.
Senator Elizabeth Warren at the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs hearing on 'The Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, US, on March 1, 2018. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Democratic US Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has traded barbs with President Donald Trump, said on Sunday (March 11) she's "not afraid of tariffs," but stopped short of endorsing his decision to launch steep tariffs on steel and aluminum.

In several television interviews, Warren, who has been touted as a potential 2020 presidential candidate, said she saw a role for tariffs as part of US trade policy.

"I am not afraid of tariffs," she said on NBC's Meet the Press programme. "We need a comprehensive rethinking of our trade policy."

Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, said she was glad Trump agreed to exempt Canada and Mexico from the tariffs, but urged policymakers to think beyond a handful of particular industries when it comes to overhauling trade policy.

"I think that our trade deals have been negotiated for a very, very long time now to benefit large, multi-national corporations, not to benefit the American worker," she said.

Trump's tariffs, which he announced last Thursday (March 8), were met with swift opposition from many of the president's fellow Republicans who say they will harm the economy.

But Democrats have struck a more measured tone, as many members of the party's progressive wing have long been critical of free trade agreements they believe harm US workers.

Warren's comments came one day after Trump again derided her as "Pocahontas" at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, referring to her having claimed Cherokee and Delaware Indian heritage.

Warren batted away speculation that she planned to run for president in 2020. She is already running for re-election to the Senate in 2018.

"I am not running for president of the United States," she said on NBC.