- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 6, 2019

A dispute over a factory closing in Louisiana spilled over Sunday to the White House, with the Trump administration and Gov. John Bel Edwards offering different takes on the cause of shutdown that cost the community nearly 400 jobs.

Bayou Steel in LaPlace, La., which also has operations in Tennessee, shuttered suddenly on Sept. 30.

The company blamed “unforeseen circumstances and the inability to secure necessary capital” for the closure and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

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But Mr. Edwards, who faces an Oct. 12 primary in his re-election bid and is running in large part on his economic stewardship of Louisiana, blamed Bayou Steel’s abrupt end it on the Trump administration’s tariffs on China.

The tariffs, according to Edwards, led to the trade war that made operations too expensive for Bayou Steel.

That’s a fairy tale, according to the Trump administration.

Bayou Steel’s principal source material is scrap steel, according to its website, the import of which is not currently subject to tariffs or quotas. In fact, the U.S. is a net exporter of steel scrap.

Peter Navarro, President Trump’s trade advisor ripped Mr. Edwards‘ spin as a “shamelessly partisan attack,” and the governor’s Republican challengers also chimed in.

“More blame and more lies from Governor John Bel Edwards,” Republican Rep. Ralph Abraham wrote in a Facebook post. “He blames President Donald J. Trump because he won’t take accountability for anything and he lies because he can’t defend his record. Time to fire this governor.”

The Edwards campaign and administration did not immediately respond Sunday to a request for comment.

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