The Trump administration may have "inadvertently" protected a Russian and Chinese price advantage on the market of pollock sold in the United States, CNN has reported.
According to the Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers (GAPP), a US-based group lobbying US pollock fishermen's interests, Trump's tariffs failed to affect the cheaper Russian-caught, Chinese-processed pollock, with the cod cousin accidentally exempted from the president's stiff 10 per cent tariffs on Chinese imports in 2018 due to bureaucratic hurdles.
For now, the more competitive Russian-caught pollock continues to be widely sold to restaurants and school cafeterias, constituting about half of all fish sticks served in US schools and cashing in on the lucrative $200 million US market for frozen pollock.
CNN's Russian fish stick story instantly sparked a debate on social media, with many users sniffing out the familiar gimmicks of the network's regular Trump-Russia collusion claims. Jokers flooded the CNN Twitter account comments section, quipping that the network had uncovered "Putin's masterplan" and suggesting that "collusion has been proven at last".
THIS WAS PUTIN'S MASTERPLAN ALL ALONG! Nice journalisming CNN!— Remus Remington (@RzNBA23) 7 февраля 2019 г.
At last! The collusion has been proven!!— HallonBlomster (@HallonBlomster) 7 февраля 2019 г.
OMG, now we have a Russian fish stick controversy, called the special counsel, he needs to get on this. quick!! 😂 😂 😂— Cheryl (@sunset_dawn2) 7 февраля 2019 г.
BREAKING: CNN has acquired evidence from a reliable source close to Russia that Russian Fish Sticks did indeed hack the 2016 election. A source close to the Trump administration confirmed Trump “occasionally” eats Russian Fish Sticks for lunch. #FactsFirst #CNN— —DannyBoy- (@RealDannyBoyTV) 7 февраля 2019 г.
Other users questioned just how serious the issue was, given how rarely they see fish stick in a US school cafeteria menu.
I don’t know of one public school that has fish sticks on their menu. The public schools serve crap but I have not seen fish sticks. Three kids and a few different public schools so I get the monthly menus.— lana D (@prizio_alana) 7 февраля 2019 г.
LOL wow CNN is really scraping the bottom of the barrel to find something to complain about Trump today. What a complete joke!— Gary Clowers Jr (@GClowersJr) 7 февраля 2019 г.
Others took the story seriously, suggesting that Trump was obviously about "making Russia great again" and arguing that the administration's decision on Russian fish sticks was far from "inadvertent."
Trump is making Russia great again— Hank Gehrisch (@HGehrisch) 7 февраля 2019 г.
I'm sure it was inadvertent 🙄 pic.twitter.com/8bUn0UyE2Y— Capitán Colombia (@DanDanUniverse) 7 февраля 2019 г.
The Trump administration has faced a series of political, legal and media investigations over the president's alleged ties to Russia ever since the 2016 presidential election. Democratic politicians and Democratic-leaning media have accused Moscow of meddling in US affairs, and even working in favour of Trump against his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, but have provided no serious evidence to substantiate their claims despite over two years of investigation.