Trump is barreling towards his next monumental mistake with his threat to impose tariffs on Mexico unless they step up their efforts in some unspecified fashion to prevent undocumented immigrants from crossing the southern border into the United States. His tariffs on China inflicted widespread damage on U.S. exports, cost American consumers more money, and destroyed jobs.
Now, he’s aiming for a repeat performance all in the service of inciting his xenophobic, anti-immigrant base. One estimate says that if these new tariffs go into effect, as many as 400,000 American jobs could be lost a year.
Unfortunately for Trump and fortunately for everyone else, he may run into a major snag. The president could face an unexpected insurrection from his own party if he tries to impose tariffs on Mexico in what Burgess Everett and James Arkin of Politico describe as a “shocking rebellion.”
Apparently, when two Trump officials had a closed-door meeting with Republican senators yesterday they encountered steep opposition to the president’s tariffs proposal. Some senators went as far as to say Trump will encounter enough votes against him in the Senate as to be virtually veto-proof.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who is usually all too happy to march lockstep with the president’s agenda, relayed to reporters that the GOP-controlled Senate doesn’t harbor “much support” for tariffs. It appears that Trump’s ignorance and lunacy are finally reaching a point where even Republicans are being forced to draw the line.
Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) echoed the sentiment, saying that tariffs “are not real popular in the Republican Conference.” Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) said that “a lot of Republican members of the Senate are tariff weary. It’s like, anything but tariffs.”
The feeling is clearly widespread and sure to infuriate our mercurial president. He hates not getting what he wants but he hates disloyalty even more. Not only would it be restricting on his agenda for his own party to oppose him, it would also be deeply embarrassing. And oppose him they very well might.
“When it comes to applying a tariff to Mexico, I for one would not support that. I do not favor tariffs being applied to friends like Mexico. If there’s a vote I think it’s a very difficult vote for those of us who oppose tariffs. I would not be inclined to vote [for] a tariff against a friend,” said Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT).
Senator James Lankford (R-OK) went so far as to mock Trump’s tariff proposals saying that his administration”is trying to use tariffs to solve every problem but HIV and climate change.”
While the opposition to the tariffs within the GOP is clearly strong and outspoken, it remains to be seen if these senators will match words with action. Courage is in short supply these days in the Republican Party but hopefully this time, for the sake of both Americans and Mexicans, they don’t just roll over again for Trump.