Former Obama Commerce Secretary Says Trump Tariffs Backfiring on U.S. Workers

A former high-ranking member of the Obama administration says President Trump’s trade policies have backfired. Former U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker says tariffs are hurting, rather than helping, American workers.

President Trump says he’s imposed tariffs on a variety of foreign goods to even the playing field for U.S. industries and force companies to build products in states like Michigan.

”I really worry when a federal government is trying to manage supply chains.” – Former U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker

But former U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, who is now working with Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, says tariffs are creating a climate of uncertainty for the nation’s business leaders.

”I really worry when a federal government is trying to manage supply chains,” Pritzker said. “I really think that companies and the workforce are in a much better position to determine what’s the most effective way to provide products that are made in America or assembled in America.”

Courtesy of PSP Partners
Courtesy of PSP Partners

Pritzker charges that U.S. workers are becoming casualties of the Trump Administration’s trade war.

She points to the Trump Administration’s trade fight with China, which she says has taken a toll on U.S. agriculture.

“About 10 percent of Wisconsin dairy farmers went bankrupt during the last year or went out of business. We spent roughly $30 billion to bail out farmers, which is twice as much as we spent on the auto bailout. And that’s the result of theoretically trying to improve the situation for American workers? I don’t get it.”

Pritzker will join other former government officials in a panel discussion on the intersection of foreign policy and economic prosperity hosted by Wayne State University and the Council on Foreign Relations.


  • Quinn Klinefelter
    Quinn Klinefelter is a Senior News Editor at 101.9 WDET. In 1996, he was literally on top of the news when he interviewed then-Senator Bob Dole about his presidential campaign and stepped on his feet.