Former Nucor CEO Dan DiMicco, named senior trade adviser to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump earlier this year, says he could have ended up giving trade advice to the candidate’s opponent.
DiMicco, a longtime critic of global trade practices, told the Observer this week he offered his assistance to Hillary Clinton about a year ago through someone in Charlotte who knows the Democratic presidential candidate well. DiMicco said he never heard back on his offer to the unnamed person.
The registered Republican and Waxhaw resident emphasized that he’s now helping Trump because he prefers the candidate’s views on trade – not because Clinton didn’t accept his help.
“He has it right on trade and she doesn’t. But if she won I would be willing to help her get it right,” said DiMicco, who came out of retirement to work for Trump. “I’m all in on this,” he said.
Officials with the Clinton campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
DiMicco noted that he’s been an outspoken advocate for reversing the loss of American manufacturing jobs for at least the past 15 years. The subject has been featured in books he’s written, including last year’s “American Made: Why Making Things Will Return Us to Greatness.”
“What I’ve been passionate about, what I’ve been championing, is a resurgence of manufacturing in this country, because that’s what builds our middle class,” DiMicco said. “That’s what gives us the ability to be a strong leader in the world going forward.”
During the Observer interview, DiMicco reiterated complaints he’s made in the past about China’s trade dealings with the U.S., including currency manipulation.
“China’s been waging a trade war with us since the middle of the ’90s,” said DiMicco, calling the country a trade-cheat whose moves have hurt America’s middle class through a loss of manufacturing jobs.
“When China will not let products into their country, except where they want them, that’s not free trade,” DiMicco said.
Trump, who has also called China a currency manipulator, continues to attack that country’s practices as harmful to the U.S. Among other things, Trump has proposed imposing tariffs on imports from China, as well as Mexico.
During a televised forum with Clinton on Wednesday night, Trump again mentioned China, noting he’s done “tremendously well dealing with China and dealing with so many of the countries that are just ripping this country. They are just taking advantage of us like nobody’s ever seen before.”
Critics of Trump’s economic policies say they would be bad for the U.S.
A report by Moody’s Analytics says the U.S. economy will weaken significantly if Trump’s policies are fully implemented and suffer a recession that begins in 2018 and extends into 2020.
DiMicco said his unpaid work as an adviser to Trump involves weekly and sometimes daily tasks – “staying up on what’s going on, what’s being said, contributing to his speeches, going on TV, taking phone interviews.”
Since taking on the role, DiMicco has also been stepping up his use of Twitter, which he rarely used before. Now, he’s often posting hourly on the social media platform, which he said he is allowed to use without first vetting Tweets with Trump staff.
“Sometimes I will check an article’s authenticity through the team before I tweet it,” DiMicco said. “There have been some times things have come out where they’ve said, ‘We’re better off not talking about that.’ (But) it’s like less than one-tenth of 1 percent of 1 percent.”
Although DiMicco said Trump is “the person who’s going to do the best job for this country,” he said he hasn’t always agreed with what the candidate says.
“I support him basically on the immigration thing,” DiMicco said. “I don’t support him saying ... everyone that’s come over here has been a drug dealer or rapist or something. But I don’t think he meant that.”
“He’s not a politician,” Dimicco said. “He’s a New York kid. He may be a wealthy New York kid, but he’s still a New York kid. When you grow up in New York, everybody, you’re on each other’s case all the time. You’re busting chops all the time. You do it with very simple language.”
“What he has shown me in the last month and a half is he gets that he has to be different in the way that he’s communicating,” DiMicco said. “If he could take back some of those things that he’s said, I’m sure he would. But they’re done. They’re out there, and they’re being used against him. He’s not racist.”