Republicans loudly booed President Trump’s announcement Thursday that he will impose steep tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.
GOP lawmakers joined business groups in declaring that slapping 25 percent tariffs on steel and 10 percent tariffs on aluminum will hurt consumers by raising prices and leading trading partners to retaliate against U.S. goods.
Opposition came from GOP leaders in the House and Senate, rising Republican stars and hardline conservatives.
“The speaker is hoping the president will consider the unintended consequences of this idea and look at other approaches before moving forward,” Doug Andres, a spokesman for Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), said in a statement.
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the No. 3 Republican in the Senate, also criticized the move.
“We have concerns, obviously, about actions taken that would create retaliatory action by some of our trading partners and our competitors out there, so I think, you know, we would like to see the White House adopt a, sort of, pro-free-trade position,” he said.
Conservative Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said Trump was proposing “a massive tax increase on American families” and accused him of betraying GOP principles.
“Protectionism is weak, not strong. You’d expect a policy this bad from a leftist administration, not a supposedly Republican one,” he said.
Republicans in the last week had repeatedly urged Trump to not impose tariffs, arguing that doing so would destroy more jobs than they would save.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) noted that when President George W. Bush imposed steel tariffs in 2002, higher steel prices led to net job losses.
Bush was forced to drop the tariffs within a year after trading partners retaliated.
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