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Economics

The Tough Negotiator Turning Trump’s Trade Bluster Into Reality

A crash course in Lighthizerism.
President Reagan shakes hands with Robert Lighthizer during a meeting for a Cabinet Affairs briefing in the Oval Office with Malcolm Baldrige, April 25, 1983.

President Reagan shakes hands with Robert Lighthizer during a meeting for a Cabinet Affairs briefing in the Oval Office with Malcolm Baldrige, April 25, 1983.

Source: Ronald Reagan Library

The diorama in the corner of Robert Lighthizer’s office looks like any other Revolutionary War scene until you learn the story behind it. Portrayed crossing the Delaware ahead of the 1776 Battle of Trenton is George Lighthizer, the Bavarian-born ancestor of Donald Trump’s trade czar and a volunteer in George Washington’s Continental Army. The message to visitors is clear: Patriotism goes way back in the Lighthizer clan.

“We’ve probably got some horse thieves in there,” Jim Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative’s older brother, says of the family lineage. “But there’s no traitors.”