Norquist critical of Trump’s tariff proposal

If Donald Trump is serious about seeking the Republican nomination for president, he may find himself running with little support from the party’s powerful economic conservatives.

Trump has been a vocal advocate in recent weeks for a 25 percent tariff on all Chinese imports, a proposal that influential conservative activist Grover Norquist calls “the worst kind of pandering.”

“The tariffs or the tax increases are what politicians call for when they’re expressing contempt for the American people’s intelligence,” Norquist, the founder of Americans for Tax Reform, told The Daily Caller. “Tariffs are not paid by Chinese people, they are paid by American people who buy Chinese products. It would raise the costs of everything you buy in the store. Most of those things you by from China and because you raised the price of one competitor, everybody else gets to raise their prices too.”

Supporters of The Donald point to his vast fortune and business successes as evidence that he could revitalize the economy. Norquist is skeptical. “He builds buildings,” Norquist says. “You don’t import buildings and you don’t — where’s the insight that you get on international trade from building a building in New York?”

Norquist believes that the problems American businesses face is largely the fault of the nation’s uncompetitive tax structure, not foreign business. “Buying low-cost products from China benefits the American consumers,” he said. “It’s the fault of the American government, our tort law and our tax law, that make it difficult to compete worldwide. “

“That’s our problem, that we do to ourselves,” he continued. “And that we need to fix.”

Monique Hamm contributed to this report