Cramer: Europeans are in 'over their heads' on trade because they've never seen anything like Trump

  • "The Europeans don't know what to do. I think they're a little taken by surprise," says Cramer, referring to the tariffs on Canada, Mexico and the EU.
  • "Whatever the Europeans are doing, they are confused because they've never seen anything like this president," he adds.

European leaders may be scratching their heads because they've never seen anyone like President Donald Trump, CNBC's Jim Cramer said Thursday.

"The Europeans don't know what to do. I think they're a little taken by surprise," said Cramer, referring to the Trump administration's decision Thursday to impose tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union, effective at midnight.

"Whatever the Europeans are doing, they are confused because they've never seen anything like this president," Cramer added on "Squawk on the Street." "They are so over their heads versus this guy."

Stocks were lower Thursday, with the Dow Jones industrial average down about 200 points on trade concerns. The EU is expected to retaliate with its own measures.

Cramer, host of "Mad Money," said Trump does not like the EU's trade practices, adding he isn't "looking for an apology" but looking for an entire "dismantling of the way European companies" have done business.

Cramer noted the one U.S. stock that should be down on news of Trump's tariffs isn't. "General Motors," he said. Shares of GM were more than 8 percent higher after it announced that the SoftBank Vision Fund plans to invest $2.25 billion in GM Cruise Holdings, further boosting the automaker's efforts with autonomous vehicle technology.

Meanwhile, the steel and aluminum tariffs against Canada and Mexico come as the U.S. has been trying to renegotiate the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement with its partners north and south of the border. Trump has repeatedly said if a better deal can't be crafted he would pull the U.S. out.

Cramer has spoken extensively on trade, particularly on U.S. trade tensions with China. Last week, he said a full-blown trade war with China could make life "very expensive" for most people in the United States. The Trump administration has also been talking to Beijing about crafting new trade parameters to address the massive goods and services deficit with China.

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