Home Depot co-founder and billionaire Ken Langone believes President Donald Trump’s recent increase of tariffs on China is the “right thing” to do, according to an interview with CNBC on Thursday.
“The only way you’re going to get somebody to a table for negotiations is when they have something to lose.”
“It’s got teeth,” said Langone, a longtime Republican supporter.
Langone also reinforced Trump’s backing of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer’s no nonsense approach to Chinese negotiations.
“I give Trump a lot of credit for backing him up,” Langone said. “The only way you’re going to get somebody to a table for negotiations is when they have something to lose.”
Negotiations between the world’s two largest economies have not made much progress recently after the Trump administration slapped China with a tariff increase from 10% to 25% on $200 billion worth of imported goods. Beijing retaliated with its own 25% tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. imports in what has become a tit-for-tat trade war, rocking financial markets and providing a gloomy outlook for the global economy.
While Langone thinks Trump’s tariffs are a good idea, he does not believe they should be drawn out for too long, according to Langone.
“God forbid if this is a permanent thing,” Langone said as he argued tariffs were bad for business, but he also does not believe the tariffs will drag on.
Langone also said he thinks Chinese officials are hoping that Trump loses the 2020 election so they can bargain with one of the many Democrats vying for the White House, but he thinks that would be mistake.
“The American people, deep down in their heart, are going to say, ‘What’s right for America, is right for me,'” Langone said.
In the 2016 election, Trump was not Langone’s first or even second choice after initially supporting Chris Christie, followed by John Kasich, but he did eventually choose to back a winner in Trump.