Here’s a shorter version of the trade policy speech Donald Trump gave in front of a pile of garbage on Tuesday: Don't do as I do. Do as I say.
As the presumptive Republican nominee unveiled his new trade proposals at an aluminum plant in Pennsylvania, he ignored decades of his own actions, opinions and to oppose outsourcing and free trade.
And it not only goes against what he’s preached and practiced, but runs contrary to the conservative economic philosophy that has formed the backbone of the Republican Party since at least the Reagan era.
“Our politicians have aggressively pursued a policy of globalization -- moving our jobs, our wealth and our factories to Mexico and overseas,” Trump thundered. "NAFTA was the worst trade deal in history, and China's entrance into the World Trade Organization has enabled the greatest jobs theft in history."
But Trump has not only been an outsourcer of jobs -- but an enthusiastic supporter of it.
“We are now closer to having an economic community in the best sense of the term -- we work with each other for the benefit of all,” Trump wrote on CNN, during January 2013. “We will have to leave borders behind and go for global unity when it comes to financial stability... The future of Europe, as well as the United States, depends on a cohesive global economy."
“Outsourcing Creates Jobs in the Long Run," Trump wrote in a now-defunct blog back in 2005.
In that article, he cited a study that showed outsourcing can actually create jobs by making companies more productive.
Trump has put his money where his mouth… well, was. An investigation by The Washington Post points out that Donald J. Trump Collection shirts, eyeglasses, perfume, cuff links and suits are made throughout the world, by workers in Bangladesh, China, Honduras and other countries where salaries are far lower than in the United States. [[Embed: https://twitter.com/DougHeye/status/747883700201857024]]
The origin of Trump’s products have become a political liability for the business mogul, and an attack line for Hillary Clinton, who has listed the place of origin for everything from his Bangladeshi shirts to his Slovenian barware.
Trump also played to the heartstrings of American steelworkers, even though he has a history of choosing other options.
“We are thirty miles from Steel City. Pittsburgh played a central role in building our nation. The legacy of Pennsylvania steelworkers lives in the bridges, railways and skyscrapers that make up our great American landscape,” Trump waxed romantically on Tuesday.
But when Trump had the opportunity to use Pennsylvania steel, he chose not to because it was too expensive. When Trump was constructing Trump Tower, he relied heavily on reinforced concrete instead of steel from Pennsylvania as a means to save money, according to Wayne Barrett’s 1991 book “Trump: the Deals and The Downfall.”
“While concrete gave Trump a more rigid and solid building, it was also more appropriate because the tower was being built on a fast track-meaning it was being designed two floors at a time and going up as fast as it could be designed,” Barrett wrote. ‘When you change concrete,’ architect Scutt explained, ‘all you have to do is change the form a little bit. When you change steel, you have to send it back to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and it comes back five weeks later. To do it in steel would have been prohibitively expensive.’”
Trump Tower, according to Barrett’s book, ran up a $22 million concrete bill, with only $300,000 used for steel touch-up work.
Trump also argued that the growth in America’s economy was approximately 3.5 percent from until after World War II to 2001. Since 2002, after opening markets to Chinese imports, that GDP growth rate has been cut in half, he argued.
“The Trans Pacific-Partnership is the greatest danger yet,” Trump said. “The TPP would be the death blow for American manufacturing.”
But, according to experts, this is a deeply simplified way of looking at the U.S. economy -- omitting the 2008 financial crisis (which he in fact cheered on).
“Measuring the economy from 2002 to now gives results that are driven heavily by the financial crisis. Blaming China for our weaker GDP growth the past 15 years is ignoring the elephant in the room,” argued Derek Scissors, an economist at the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute. [[Embed: https://twitter.com/morningmoneyben/status/747860563452174341]]
Trump’s opposition to free trade and the evolution of the American economy to a service-based economy stands contrary to the conservative economic policy that has dominated the GOP since the Reagan era, alienating potential allies inside the party and out.
“Lumping NAFTA and China together and acting as if the TPP is a disaster, rather than a dud, are what protectionist groups like labor unions do. This is a major shift from what have been for decades generally pro-trade Republican positions,” Scissors told The Daily Beast.
“It is simply sloppy to attribute a slowdown in growth to China and the WTO while ignoring the financial crisis, Great Recession, and misguided Obama Administration economic policies,” added Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the former Director of the Congressional Budget Office and now president of a conservative think tank, the American Action Forum.
Two powerful groups, the National Association of Manufacturers and the Chamber of Commerce, moved swiftly to condemn Trump’s speech Tuesday. Both groups often align themselves with pro-business GOP policy makers, and it is especially unusual for them to take on the Republican presidential nominee so directly. [[EMBED: https://twitter.com/JayTimmonsNAM/status/747860631794049024] [[EMBED: https://twitter.com/USChamber/status/747862708641476608]]
But as Trump has demonstrated time and time again, he’s not concerned with what happened in how own career —he’s not even concerned with what he himself promised months ago. All that matters is what he said today: and today, he wants to break up the world order and turn the country inwards to itself.
“It is time to Believe in America,” he said. “This is how we are going to make America great again, for all Americans.”
--Gideon Resnick contributed to this article