You don't even have to go back 20 years ago to figure out why it's a bad idea:
"I don't think it was smart policy to do it, to be honest," said Andrew H. "Andy" Card Jr., Bush's chief of staff from 2001 to 2006. "The results were not what we anticipated in terms of its impact on the economy or jobs."
Card is the latest high-ranking Bush administration official to warn Trump of just how bad it could get economically and politically if he proceeds. Josh Bolten, Bush's deputy chief of staff for policy in 2002, slammed Trump's tariffs.
The result of Bush's tariffs was a $30 million hit to the economy, according to a lengthy government report from the U.S. International Trade Commission in 2003. Studies by outside groups conclude that the United States lost jobs because of the move: The employment gains in factories that make raw steel were outweighed by job losses in other industries, especially at companies that take raw steel and make it into parts for cars and appliances. To put it another way, it cost about $400,000 per job saved in the steel industry, according to an estimate by the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
Bush originally intended to keep the tariffs for three years, but he ended them in December 2003. Trading partners, especially the European Union, threatened to retaliate with tariffs on Florida oranges and Carolina fabrics and textiles, and it became clear to White House staff members that it was backfiring.
"We didn't expect it to cost us jobs," Card said. "Once the tit-for-tat starts, there are unintended consequences. You don't know the extent of how everyone else will react."