Colorado’s Morning News, Mike Coffman, March 9, 2018

Station:   KOA, 850 AM

Guests:    Coffman, Mike


Date:        March 9, 2018

Topics:     North Korea, Kim Jong Un, South Korea, Denuclearization, Reagan Gorbachev Reykjavik, Secretary of Defense Mattis, Steel & Aluminum Tariffs, Canada, Mexico, Manufacturing, Sanctions, Military Force, NAFTA,

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HOST APRIL ZESBAUGH:: [00:00:05] A meeting with North Korea and a battle within the GOP over tariffs: [playing audio of President Trump] “Now we’re finally taking action to correct this long-overdue problem. It’s a travesty.” [playing audio of Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Paul Ryan] “I’m just not a fan of broad-based, across-the-board tariffs.” The White House, there, and Speaker Paul Ryan at odds after the President ordered tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Our next guest says the tariffs — quote — “run counter to the progress we’ve made to raise wages and create more jobs.” Let’s say good morning to Congressman Mike Coffman. Thanks for coming on.


ZESBAUGH: [00:00:33] Yeah. I imagine though, people in the U.S. industry of steel and aluminum like these tariffs on other countries.

COFFMAN: [00:00:39] [I’m] not sure about that. But if you look at the number that actually work in producing aluminum and steel in the country, it’s very small compared to those that use that steel and aluminum in manufacturing processes to produce final products. And so, I think it’s going to hurt. And we don’t know what the retaliatory impacts are going to be, in terms of what other countries are going to do. [I’m] glad to see the President exempted Canada and Mexico in an attempt to to integrate those in the NAFTA negotiations.

HOST MARTY LENZ: [00:01:11] Isn’t that a problem, though? Aren’t we conflating that, because he’s using it to renegotiate NAFTA? Shouldn’t those two things be separated out, Congressman?

COFFMAN: [00:01:18] No, they really should not. I mean, that’s a part of those trade agreements. And so, I’m happy that he’s doing that. But it’s — and I think to use the national security model, I think is a real stretch. I think Canada — we import more from Canada than anybody else. And the last time I checked, I don’t think the Minister of Defense of Canada is waking up every morning rechecking his invasion plans for the United States. [chuckles]

ZESBAUGH: [00:01:44] Mm-hmm. We’ve also got to get your opinion on this North Korean meeting — Kim Jong Un and President Trump agreeing to that sometime, likely, in May. You were just in South Korea, right? So talk about your perspective on this. Obviously, it’s got to be a good thing, isn’t it?

COFFMAN: [00:01:56] Well, I think it’s positive –.

ZESBAUGH: [00:01:59] Yeah.

COFFMAN: [00:01:59] –obviously, when people are talking. However, you know, obviously, we would prefer that someone like General Mattis — now Secretary of Defense — be the lead in negotiating, rather than having the principals sit down themselves. I don’t think this is akin to Gorbachev and Reagan in Reykjavik, trying to negotiate on nuclear weapons. But you know, I think it’s positive. I think it’s the pressure that the United States is exerting through economic sanctions. Obviously, the threat of the use of military force is always on the table. But I think that we’ve got to –containment is not the solution, in and of itself, simply because of the fact that whatever North Korea produces it proliferates — it sells for a hard currency to any country, to any taker, or to any terrorist group. That’s the fundamental danger to the United States.

LENZ: [00:02:55] Congressman Mike Coffman, thank you so much for joining us.

COFFMAN: [00:02:57] Hey, thanks for having me.