Lindsey Graham shrugs off concerns about trade war layoffs in his own state


Archroma was forced to cut jobs in one of South Carolina's poorest counties because of tariffs Trump imposed in his trade war.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham brushed off concerns Wednesday about layoffs prompted by Trump's trade war in his home state of South Carolina.

Archroma, a chemicals company with facilities in South Carolina, announced last Friday that it would be laying off some of its employees.

"Nine jobs in one of South Carolina's poorest counties this week became the latest casualty in an ongoing trade war with China, fueling concerns that stalled negotiations will hamper U.S. economic growth and job gains," the State newspaper reported.

"This is an unintended consequence of the tariffs. It’s causing people their livelihood in the last 24 hours, and will continue if we do not see immediate action," Russ Gibson, the company's head of operations at its plant in Martin, South Carolina, told the paper.

The jobs that will be lost paid between $50,000 to $60,000, plus benefits, in a county with a median annual income of $23,331.

The company supplies an additive that makes paper and textiles brighter and whiter. One chemical it uses, imported from China and not available in the U.S., had its cost increase by 10% when Trump announced tariffs. The tariff increased to 25% in May.

Asked about the layoffs on Wednesday, Graham, a key Trump ally, did not waver.

"Yeah, it hurts," Graham told the State. "It hurts when a component of the supply chain in China is affected by the tariffs, but the goal is to get China to open up their markets so we can have business done where people generate jobs here and sell products to China."

But Graham still supports Trump's trade war.

"The pain of not confronting China is a lot greater than it is to do something about it now," he said. "Hopefully, we can get these jobs back in Allendale County."

That sentiment won't help the families who have lost a major source of income and the associated benefits.

Graham said he is prepared to see the trade war "drag on as long as it takes," a message he says he passed on to Trump when they spoke Wednesday morning.

"I told the president this morning when I talked to him: We don't have any choice," Graham said.

Trump's trade war has had a devastating effect on businesses and farms. Because of the trade war and China's retaliatory actions, companies are passing increased costs onto consumers and laying off workers.

Despite his early boasting that trade wars are "good and easy to win," Trump has so far failed to get China to give in to his demands.

Meanwhile, many economists say the trade war has begun to be a drag on the recovering economy Trump inherited from President Barack Obama.

But to Trump and Graham, it's all a price worth paying for Trump's trade war.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.