GOP Divided on Trump’s Mexico Tariff Threat

by Jason Hopkins


Republicans in the House and Senate appear divided in their reaction to President Donald Trump’s threats to slap Mexico with incremental tariffs.

“There is not much support in my conference for tariffs, that’s for sure,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday after a closed-door lunch between administration staffers and GOP senators, where White House deputy counsel Pat Philbin and Assistant Attorney General Steve Engel took heavy criticism from Republican lawmakers. “We are hoping that doesn’t happen.”

Other Republican senators publicly voiced their concerns about taxing Mexican imports — a move the president is threatening to execute unless their government does more to stem the illegal immigration crisis.

“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,” GOP Utah Sen. Mitt Romney said, according to Politico. “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.”

Discussing the closed-door talks in a harsher tone, Republican Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford reportedly said the White House “is trying to use tariffs to solve every problem but HIV and climate change.”

While opposition runs high among Republicans in the upper chamber of Congress, the GOP House caucus appears more supportive.

“House Republicans support the President on Tariffs with Mexico all the way, & that makes any measure the President takes on the Border totally Veto proof. Why wouldn’t you as Republicans support him when that will allow our President to make a better deal,” Trump tweeted Friday morning, attributing the quote to House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy.

It’s not clear when the GOP House leader made the statement, and his office did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for clarification.

While there are a number of moderate Republicans in the House who would likely vote against the tariff proposal, it would be difficult to find more than 50 GOP members to vote against the president — the amount needed in the lower chamber to override a presidential veto. In fact, the issue of Mexican tariffs was not even debated when House Republicans held their own closed-door meeting Tuesday morning.

Trump, who has made immigration a top issue in his administration, announced he would impose a 5% tariff on all goods coming from Mexico unless its government does more to stop the flow of U.S.-bound illegal migrants pouring through its borders. The tariffs will are due to begin June 10, and would increase every month by increments of 5 percentage points, reaching a possible maximum of 25% by October.

Top Mexican officials held a press conference in Washington, D.C., on Monday and publicly warned against the idea of a trade war. Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are scheduled to meet with Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard on Wednesday as they attempt to reach a deal before the June 10 deadline.

– – –

Jason Hopkins is a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation. Follow Jason on Twitter.
Photo “Kevin McCarthy” by Kevin McCarthy.  









Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected]

Related posts

3 Thoughts to “GOP Divided on Trump’s Mexico Tariff Threat”

  1. Charles C Schumacher

    So Mitt Romney thinks we shouldn’t impose tariffs on our “friends”. He needs to be reminded of the diplomatic axiom that nations don’t have friends, they only have interests. And Mexico’s continued failure to take any meaningful action to stem the flow of illegal immigrants through their country is clearly contrary to our interests.

    As it now has turned out, Mexico apparently saw the light and has agreed to take action. It remains to be seen how effective their actions really are, but it looks promising, so it appears that President Trump was right, and all the naysayers — including RINO Romney — were wrong. Will Mitt be man enough to admit it? Not likely.

  2. 83ragtop50

    The do-nothing GOP members of Congress had control of Congress and did absolutely nothing to deal with the ever growing problems at the southern border. So why should anyone be surprised that people like McConnell would not back any effort that President Trump makes to protect American sovereignty? The Swamp smells to high heaven when it comes to protecting America from the evasion from the south. Shut down the border – yesterday!

    1. CMinTN

      Bought and paid for by Tom Donahue and the Chamber of Commerce. They do not represent us, but represent the same multinational corps that have been selling us out for decades now.