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The Daily Showdown

Trevor Noah points out that a trade war is the 'least bad' war Trump could start

President Trump seems determined to impose steep tariffs on aluminum and steel imports, despite strong objections from his own party and warnings from economists that the move will cost American consumers and America jobs, Trevor Noah said on Monday's Daily Show. "White Ben Carson" Wilbur Ross, Trump's commerce secretary, argues unpersuasively that the price hikes won't be too bad for consumers, but the move seems likely to spark a trade war.

"See, it starts at steel and aluminum and now we're up to whisky and jeans," Noah said. "And honestly, I think the European Union is going about this the wrong way. You're not hurting Trump by threatening Jim Beam and Levi's," given that he's a teetotaler who doesn't wear jeans. "You'd think Trump getting all these bad Yelp reviews on his tariff idea would make him think twice," he added, "but jokes on you — he doesn't think once."

Trump said he looks forward to a trade war, claiming the U.S. would win handily, but "the truth is, trade wars aren't easy to win," Noah said. "In fact, already a study has shown that even before a trade war, Trump's tariffs by themselves could cost Americans 146,000 jobs." Trump isn't totally wrong about the problem — "China is dumping steel into the U.S. and it is hurting American steel companies," he explained — but while "his solution will cause even bigger problems," Trump is president, and this is "ultimately his call," Noah said. "So even if it's bad policy, America could be headed for a trade war. Which, to be honest, of all the wars we thought Trump could get us into — I mean, nuclear war, race war — a trade war is, like, the least bad option." He imagined how this would all look in Call of Duty, and there is some NSFW language. Watch below. Peter Weber