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Ex-Bush Commerce chief says Trump trade plan invites ‘disaster’

🕐 2 min read

A Republican and former Cabinet secretary said he’s supporting Democrat Hillary Clinton to be president partly because Donald Trump’s economic plans are the types of strategies followed by “very poor countries” and don’t fit the world’s largest economy.

“I haven’t heard an economic concept come out of Trump’s mouth, except for protectionism and lower taxes,” Carlos Gutierrez, who led the Commerce Department in the George W. Bush administration from 2005 to 2009, said in an interview Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” broadcast. “You put those two together, that is a recipe for disaster.”

While supporting Trump’s proposed tax cuts, the Cuban-born Gutierrez criticized the Republican nominee’s trade policies. “He has this sort of import-substitution strategy, which is a strategy like an underdeveloped country,” said Gutierrez, 62. “Very poor countries think that way: We have to substitute our imports” with domestically produced goods.

Gutierrez, 62, the former chief executive officer of cereal maker Kellogg Co., said that while he would have preferred former Florida governor Jeb Bush over Trump as the Republican nominee, Clinton “would make a darned good president.” She learned from her husband’s presidency in the 1990s that cutting budget deficits drives economic growth, Gutierrez said.

“I don’t want to live in a society that I think Donald Trump will create,” Gutierrez said in his first extended comments since announcing support for Clinton on Aug. 10. “I’m going to do everything possible to make sure that the GOP doesn’t get destroyed.”

Gutierrez also referred to Trump’s criticism in June of Gonzalo Curiel, a federal judge of Mexican origin, presiding over a fraud case involving Trump University.

“I don’t want to go back to a country where, if a child has a Spanish last name, that the president, the leader of the country, is giving kids a license to bully them,” said Gutierrez.

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