Bredesen: ‘I greatly admire’ Corker and Alexander efforts against Trump tariffs

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Phil Bredesen tells The Leaf Chronicle that Hemlock Semiconductor shuttered its $1.2 billion plant in Clarksville – launched while he was governor – because of a dispute between China and the United States over tariffs. The comment was a prelude to declaring his support for efforts by Republican Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander to require congressional approval of President Trump’s proposed new tariffs.

“They closed up because of tariffs, you know,” Bredesen said after seeing a framed 2008 copy of the Leaf Chronicle featuring a picture of himself when the initial Hemlock investment was announced. He was on a tour of the newspaper office Thursday and most of the resulting report is on Trump’s proposed steel and aluminum tariffs.

His reference to Hemlock went back to 2013 when U.S.-exported polysilicon, the raw material for photovoltaic solar cells the company was to manufacture, was saddled with Chinese tariffs as high as 57 percent. The tariffs, according to reports at the time, came as part of Beijing’s retaliation for U.S. tariffs on imports of Chinese-made solar panels.

…“I really admire what Sen. Corker has been doing, and I know Sen. (Lamar) Alexander has helped him, to reassert some control over this, and certainly not using national security as an excuse for doing this political kind of thing,” Bredesen said. “I certainly support him on that, and I hope everybody, both Democrats and Republicans, will settle down and do that.”

Bredesen dismissed Trump’s criticism that he would tow the Democratic Party line if elected, pointing to his track record of working with lawmakers of both parties while governor.

“If I’m senator, my obligation is to Tennesseans, and what I think is best for them,” he said. “It’s certainly not to any party or for a president of either party. People expect you to be a check and balance. They expect you to be independent and to look out for their interests.”

Beyond the folks back home, Bredesen knows others are watching. While talking about business and industry recruitment, he mentioned an experience with Volkswagen representatives during negotiations to open a plant in Chattanooga.

He said they liked coming into a “stable situation” where two Republican senators and a Democratic governor “who obviously liked each other and were working together and cooperating to get stuff done,” which they didn’t find in some other places.

“It gives us comfort that we’re not going to get ground up in some political fight,” he quoted the executives as saying.

Bredesen said rather than adopting “a take-no-prisoners attitude,” one must be willing to work across party lines or work with people in different circumstances.

“You know, after doing this, it becomes a really important part of how you develop jobs,” he said. “I think it’s one of the things that clearly separates my campaign from that of my competitor.”

7 Responses to Bredesen: ‘I greatly admire’ Corker and Alexander efforts against Trump tariffs

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    James White says:

    I guess Marsha Blackburn is waiting on the TPN for her marching orders, she should look to the constitution.
    TPN Mission
    Building Tomorrow’s Partnership Today
    TPN is a non-governmental network that provides politicians, business, academics and other interested participants from both sides of the Atlantic with opportunities to address both current transatlantic issues and future challenges. Its objectives are as follows:

    First, to facilitate constructive dialogue at a strategic level between the EU and the US for all participants of the network;

    Second, to help this partnership adjust to new challenges and opportunities; to identify common interests and to reduce the scope for misunderstandings between the transatlantic partners, and to promote cooperation between EU and US governments;

    Third, to act as a communications mechanism for ideas on policy issues. Wherever possible, TPN works with established organisations and institutions, avoiding duplication and enhancing specific objectives.

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    Steve L. says:

    I would not trust Corker or Alexander to balance my checkbook. In fact, I would not trust them to handle anything important in my life. They are bought and paid for by special interest groups and I believe they would betray me for $100. We are in this tariffs mess because of the US Congress selling us out to every other country in the world.

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    Tommy Ray McAnally says:


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    William Upton says:

    Of course Bredesen likes having a couple of alleged republicans working for him!

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    Tennessee Jed says:

    Always get a chuckle out of the GOP, which once claimed to be the party of less government intervention and free trade, going to bat for the terrible, job-killing Trump Tariffs.

    Reciprocal tariffs are nothing more than taxes you pay to foreign governments.

    Steve L. and Marsha Blackburn probably look like a pretzel with as much twisting and contorting they have to do to support these disastrous taxes….I mean tariffs.

    Good on Bredesen, Alexander, and Corker fighting against them. Those guys certainly do terrible stuff all the time, but at least they are right on this issue.

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    Steve L. says:

    Thank you, Tennessee Jed. Your brief explanation of how international trade functions in the modern world of economics was fascinating. I grew up in a world where tarrifs were explained to me in High School. But why not get the simplified version? If you have been paying attention, other countries have had serious tarrifs on our goods for many years. Killing our jobs as we try to sell into foreign markets. Do you understand that fact? Do you care? The economy is booming, unemployment is low, and confidence in this country is high. All in the first 500 days. Reasons to celebrate. And it will be America First for now. And that just upsets many Americans. So sad. But, I am not tired of winning, yet. No pretzels for me. Just winning. See you at the polls!

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    Donna Locke says:

    We can talk about what we all would support in an ideal world, or we can talk about the world we live in. I’m going along with the Trump tariffs.

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