(CNN) – As President Donald Trump’s trade advisers were searching last week for a strategy to forestall his threatened tariffs on China, they struck upon a novel approach: appeal to his Christmas cheer.
Under pressure from retailers to prevent a move that would likely have caused prices of popular consumer goods to spike, the President’s team came to him during a meeting last week with a warning. Applying new tariffs on all Chinese imports, they cautioned, could effectively “ruin Christmas,” according to people familiar with the matter.
It was a tactic that worked: Trump announced the tariffs would be delayed until December 15.
It was one back-down amid a grueling trade war that Trump insists will eventually benefit Americans — and will demonstrate his toughness on China. And while it caused markets to soar on Tuesday, the gains were erased a day later amid new fears of an impending recession.
As signals mount of a global slowdown — spurred partly by the trade war — Trump and his advisers are increasingly looking for ways to prevent economic anxieties from reaching Americans before next year’s presidential election.
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