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President Trump tweeted Monday that he will restore steel and aluminum tariffs against Brazil and Argentina due to their currency devaluations.

"Brazil and Argentina have been presiding over a massive devaluation of their currencies. which is not good for our farmers. Therefore, effective immediately, I will restore the Tariffs on all Steel & Aluminum that is shipped into the U.S. from those countries."

The big picture: Trump's tweets show that he is not afraid to open a potential new front in his ongoing global trade war even as the 2020 presidential election approaches — and also touched on his antagonism with the Federal Reserve, which he said should lower rates to prevent similar actions from other countries.

Reality check: Both the Brazilian real and Argentine peso are freely traded and have been for years. The currencies have weakened because of political upheavals and dwindling growth forecasts in the two countries — not government intervention.

  • In Argentina's case, the weak currency has been one of the biggest pain points for its citizens as its economy attempts to pull out of a lengthy recession. It has helped fuel spiraling inflation and erode buying power, putting one in three people in poverty, the highest level in close to a decade.

What they're saying: "Trump’s tweets suggest a failure to understand how trade flows, exchange rates, or economies function at the most basic level," Karl Schamotta, chief market strategist at Cambridge Global Payments, tells Axios.

  • "His actions are completely counterproductive, and will only apply more pressure on both currencies, driving them down against the dollar, while damaging central banks which are doing their best to fight depreciation."
  • "He is somehow managing to make human suffering worse in these countries — while also making U.S. economic leadership laughable."

Behind the scenes: A source familiar says that Trump is fighting Fed Chair Jerome Powell every day about a strong dollar. The president and Peter Navarro, one of his most hawkish trade advisers, claim that it is seriously "overvalued" and believe countries that are devaluing are trying to game the system.

  • Trump is preoccupied with getting China to announce a massive purchase of U.S. agricultural goods. The same source says that "the agriculture part of the China deal is driving him mad."
  • A former senior Trump administration official who worked on trade told Axios, "Can understand his frustration, but un-exempting minor metals tariffs isn’t going to do or change anything. It just betrays his emotional reaction and makes the U.S. position look weak."
  • Brazil is America’s major global competitor to sell soybeans to China. And Argentina inked a deal earlier this year to export soymeal, a livestock feed, to China, per Reuters.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

20 mins ago - World

Pope Francis denounces European governments' migrant response

Pope Francis adresses refugees at the Reception and Identification Centre (RIC) in Mytilene on the island of Lesbos on Sunday. Photo: Louisa Gouliamaki/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis criticized European countries' response to migrants and asylum seekers during his visit to a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos Sunday.

Why it matters: The pope said "migration is a humanitarian crisis that concerns everyone," but little had changed in the global response to displaced peoples since his first visit to Lesbos five years ago, per a transcript of his remarks. "Human lives, real people, are at stake. ... let us stop this shipwreck of civilization!"

Chris Cuomo accuser: On-air "hypocrisy" spurred report

Journalist Chris Cuomo. Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images

A woman who accused fired CNN journalist Chris Cuomo of sexual misconduct said Sunday she decided to come forward after learning of his comments about women who made similar accusations about his brother. He denies her allegations.

Why it matters: Her attorney Debra Katz said in a statement that she heard "the hypocrisy" of his on-air words about his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and was "disgusted by his efforts to try to discredit these women," so "retained counsel to report his serious sexual misconduct against her to CNN."

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise" — Two years of COVID-19 — Prior coronavirus infections may not protect well against Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Data demonstrates most-vaccinated counties less vulnerable to worst of COVID — Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate.
  4. World: Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles downWHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.