Senate Republicans left a closed-door lunch with White House officials Tuesday expressing stern opposition to President Trump’s announced plan to impose tariffs on Mexican imports as a way to force the country to do more to prevent illegal immigrants from traveling through to get to the U.S. border, according to Politico.
What’s this about? Last week, Pres. Trump announced his intention to impose a 5 percent tariff on Mexican imports beginning June 10, to put pressure on the Mexican government to reduce the number of Central American migrants traveling through to enter the United States. The president intends to either use the existing border national emergency declaration or a second emergency in order to impose the tariffs.
What do Senate Republicans think? The reception among some Republicans was not positive. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said “there is not much support in my conference for tariffs, that’s for sure.”
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said “The administration ought to be concerned about another vote of disapproval on another national emergency act, this time trying to implement tariffs. Tariffs are not real popular in the Republican Conference.”
Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said Pres. Trump “is trying to use tariffs to solve every problem but HIV and climate change.”
Others, like Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) decried the fact that with only days left until the president’s deadline, senators are not able to sit down with the president himself to discuss this issue.
“The problem is we didn’t have the decision makers there,” Cornyn told Politico. “The president and half his Cabinet [are] over in Europe, and obviously the clock is ticking. Time’s wasting. What we need to do is get in front of the president and have that conversation.”
How will this play out? Pres. Trump threatened that it would be “foolish” for Senate Republicans to oppose his tariffs. Even if the tariffs are voted down, it’s likely Pres. Trump would veto that decision, leaving the situation up to whether two-thirds of the House and Senate would agree to overturn the veto. From Politico:
There may not be 20 Republicans in the Senate who are willing to defy Trump, particularly as the GOP seeks to defend its majority and avoid primary challengers from the right. And getting more than 50 House Republicans to join them could prove even harder given the stronger support Trump’s hardball tactics have among the House minority.