The last time a trade war happened in the U.S., things didn't go well for the economy. Will history repeat itself as Trump puts a tariff on steel and aluminum? Here are the facts. Just the FAQs


WASHINGTON - House Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday that farmers and businesses in Wisconsin that are dealing with the fallout from President Donald Trump’s tariffs should be patient because “there is a plan and a strategy” with a “good landing point.”

“I’m not a fan of tariffs. Everybody knows that,” said Ryan, during a question-and-answer session in the U.S. Capitol with Jeff Mayers, the president of the website

“It’s hardball, it’s tariffs, it’s tough talk, but if it results in good agreements with our allies and a unified, developed-world front to go get China to play by the rules, then that’s a pretty darn good outcome,” Ryan said of the Trump tariff policies. "I would simply say (to people), 'Be patient for that.' "

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Many businesses and farmers in Wisconsin (and elsewhere) have taken an economic hit from the tariffs, which have drawn limited popular support. In one recent statewide poll, only 31 percent of Wisconsin voters supported the Trump tariffs on the European Union, Mexico and Canada. Support was a bit higher (39 percent) for tariffs against China, according to an August survey by Suffolk University.

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Ryan’s appearance came before a friendly audience in the Capitol. He was not asked about Trump, whose presidency has overshadowed the end of Ryan’s congressional career.

The speaker, elected in 1998 and now completing his 20th year in the U.S. House, is not seeking an 11th term.

Ryan said Wednesday he didn't know what he will do next year after leaving office. "I have to wait until I'm done (here), in my own mind, in order to look at (that)," he said.

The GOP majority Ryan presides over is in peril in the 2018 midterm elections, though Ryan said he thought Republicans would hold the House. He defended the tax cuts that were the centerpiece of the GOP agenda, saying “exactly what we were hoping would happen is happening” with the economy.

Ryan said spending, not tax cuts, were to blame for rising deficits.

“The issue is entitlements. It always has been and always will be,” said Ryan.

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