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Donald Trump tells steelworker his father is proudly 'looking down on him' - despite not being dead

'Oh, he’s still alive', steel union leader tells US President after eulogy during tariff announcement

Chris Baynes
Friday 09 March 2018 19:50 GMT
Donald Trump mistakenly assuming a steel worker's dad is dead: 'Your father Herman is looking down'

When Donald Trump told a steelworker his father was “looking down” on him with pride for leading a local union, there was only one problem - the man's dad was not dead.

His mistake caused an audience to descend into laughter at a White House press conference which saw him sign an order imposing sweeping new tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.

Steelworker Scott Sauritch had previously told the crowd about how excessive “dumping” of metals had affected his family.

“My father, during the 80s, he lost his job due to imports coming into this country," said the president of a union chapel in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania.

“What that does to a man with six kids is devastating. I never forgot that – looking into his eyes, in my household, what that does to a family. You hear about it, but when you’re actually involved and it impacts you, it’ll never leave you.

“For Herman Sauritch, your story didn’t end. And for all the people that I represent at my union, I never want to see it again. And for these workers and for these folks, I appreciate the opportunity, I’m very humbled with this.”

Taking back the microphone, the President said: “Well, your father Herman is looking down, he’s very proud of you right now.”

Mr Sauritch responded: “Oh, he’s still alive.”

As steelworkers and White House officials laughed, Mr Trump hastily added: “Then he’s even more proud of you.”

The US leader then challenged another steelworker to an arm wrestle as he took the microphone to address the press conference.

The President said he was fulfilling a campaign promise by imposing the tariffs, asserting that support from steelworkers was part of the reason why he won the presidency.

American steel and aluminium workers have been betrayed, Mr Trump claimed, but he added “that betrayal is now over”.

The new tariffs have sparked an international outcry and warnings of a trade war.

Prior to officially authorising the tariffs, Mr Trump promised to show “great flexibility and co-operation toward those that are real friends and treat us fairly on both trade and the military”.

After a week of intense lobbying from members of Congress – including members of Mr Trump’s own party – world leaders and other stakeholders, he has agreed to exempt Canada and Mexico from the tariffs.

He has also left open the possibility of later excluding allies such as Australia. But the order could hit South Korea, China, Japan, Germany, Turkey and Brazil.

The UK steel industry has said that tariffs would have a “profound impact” on their business and the Prime Minister Theresa May has voiced here concerns to Mr Trump about the move.

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