Mitch McConnell Says “There Is Not Much Support In My Conference” For Trump’s Mexico Tariffs
GOP senators have warned President Donald Trump that there is almost no support among Republican lawmakers for his proposed tariffs on Mexico. This comes as a response to the president’s insistence that if America’s southern neighbor doesn’t stem the flow of immigrants across the border, then Trump will begin to implement tariffs on the country, up to 25%. On Friday, Trump announced that he would suspend the threat after Mexico made some minor concessions.
McConnell’s statements came after a closed-door GOP Senate lunch during which White House Deputy Counsel Pat Philbin and Assistant Attorney General Steve Engel attempted to convince the lawmakers to accept Trump’s proposed tariffs. According to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), “there is not much support in my conference for tariffs, that’s for sure.” Much of the GOP is tired of the use of tariffs, especially since it goes against the free trade beliefs of the party. “A lot of Republican members of the Senate are tariff weary. It’s like, anything but tariffs,” said Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota).
Not only are many of the Republicans supporters of free trade, but many of them are from southern states which border Mexico and would be hit hardest by tariffs. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) stated, “I will yield to nobody in passion and seriousness and commitment for securing the border… but there’s no reason for Texas farmers and ranchers and manufacturers and small businesses to pay the price of massive new taxes.”
While the Senate has stood with Trump on his tariffs on places like China, the body is much less eager to support a trade barrier with one of the nation’s biggest trade partners. Mexico is the single biggest importer of American goods, and the second biggest exporter to America, meaning that in order to harm Mexico, the U.S. would also have to harm itself. With the 2020 elections coming up, many Republicans are afraid to damage the growing economy, one of their most appealing achievements. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said, “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.”
While it is unclear whether or not enough GOP members oppose these tariffs strongly enough to create a supermajority and override a presidential emergency declaration, the fact that such a possibility is even being considered shows how much Republicans dislike the idea of tariffs should Trump reverse course and decide to implement them again.