Former CIA chief John Brennan made a rare appearance on Twitter Wednesday to lash out at President Donald Trump over “ignorance” that threatens U.S. prosperity.
The commander in chief’s recent talk of possible steel and aluminum tariffs prompted a social-media jab by Mr. Brennan this week. The post — 1 of 18 total tweets, with the vast majority related to Mr. Trump or the U.S. Russia probe — questioned the president’s economic acumen.
“You show an amazing albeit unsurprising ignorance of how technology, automation, and the attendant evolution of economics and societies have transformed the world,” Mr. Brennan, who served under former President Obama, wrote. “Your simple minded policies — imposition of tariffs — have the potential to seriously damage our future prosperity.”
The comment came in response to Mr. Trump’s assertion that the U.S. has “lost more than 55,000 factories, 6,000,000 manufacturing jobs and accumulated trade deficits of more than 12 trillion dollars” since the administration of former President George H.W. Bush.
“Last year we had a Trade Deficit of almost 800 Billion Dollars. Bad Policies & Leadership. Must WIN again! #MAGA,” Trump tweeted Wednesday.”
Not noted in Mr. Brennan’s tweet is the idea that Mr. Trump’s rhetoric may be part of a broader negotiating strategy.
“He’s already indicated a degree of flexibility, and I think a sensible, balanced degree of flexibility,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC during a recent interview. “I think you’re going to see, as you understand the details of what actually is going to happen, that we’re not trying to blow up the world. We’re not trying to do that.”
Mr. Trump has stated that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other policy agreements surreptitiously harm U.S. manufacturers.
“People have to understand, our country, on trade, has been ripped off by virtually every country in the world, whether it’s friend or enemy — everybody,” the president told reporters during a White House press conference on Tuesday. “China, Russia. And take people that we think are wonderful — the European Union — we can’t do business in there. They don’t allow it. They have trade barriers that are worse than tariffs. They also have tariffs, by the way, but they have trade barriers far worse than tariffs. And if they want to do something, we’ll just tax their cars that they send in here like water.”
“We cannot lose our steel industry,” he added in another conference with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. “It’s a fraction of what it once was. And we can’t lose our aluminum industry; also a fraction of what it once was.”