In a speech Saturday at CPAC, President Trump defended his use of tariffs as a cudgel to negotiate trade policy with other nations, recalling the late 19th Century when he said the policies were last popular.

"We found some very old laws from when our country was rich," Trump said in Oxon Hill, Md. "The old tariff laws."

Trump said that in the 1880s, America "had so much money, we didn't know what the hell to do with it."

Trump said that in 1888, the "Great Tariff Debate", started a national conversation about imposing fees to "protect our assets."

He said that President William McKinley, an Ohio Republican elected 1896 and assassinated in 1901, was a strong defender of such policies.

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"He made statements that others cannot come into our country and steal our wealth and steal our jobs," Trump said of McKinley.

Trump said that in 1913, the feds ended the tariff programs, but the laws remained on the books for future usage of such policies.

He said that when dealing with powerful nations like India and China, he dusted off the old laws and used them to negotiate against such countries that have high import tariffs on American goods but no reciprocal fees.

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