Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told reporters on Tuesday that he remains worried that Trump’s proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum could “metastasize” into a trade war.
McConnell told reporters on Tuesday, “There is a lot of concern among Republican senators that this could sort of metastasize into sort of a larger trade war, and many of our members are discussing with the administration just how broad, how sweeping this might be.”
McConnell joined Ryan, who also expressed worry about Trump’s tariffs.
Ryan said during a press briefing on Tuesday:
What we’re encouraging the administration to do is to focus on what is clearly a legitimate problem and to be more surgical in its approach so that we can go after the true abusers without creating any kind of unintended consequences or collateral damage.
Speaker Ryan’s press secretary, AshLee Strong, said in a statement, “We are extremely worried about the consequences of a trade war and are urging the White House to not advance with this plan. The new tax reform law has boosted the economy and we certainly don’t want to jeopardize those gains.”
Ryan was also an ardent supporter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which President Trump ended.
President Trump proposed a 25 percent tax on foreign steel and a ten percent tax on foreign aluminum, arguing that these bad trade deals have hollowed out American manufacturing.
Trump denied reports on Monday that he was considering backing down on his proposed tariffs and suggested that if he cannot make a better deal on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), he will withdraw from the deal.
We’ve had a very bad deal with Mexico, we’ve had a very bad deal with Canada, it’s called NAFTA,.Our factories have left our country, our jobs have left our country, for many years. … We are renegotiating NAFTA as I said I would, and if we don’t make a deal, I’ll terminate NAFTA.
Goldman Sachs’ chief economist argued last week that Trump’s proposal will lead to a “good chance” that the United States will leave NAFTA.
Under President Trump, American manufacturing expanded at the fastest rate since May 2004.
“People have to understand, our country, on trade, has been ripped off by virtually every country in the world, whether it’s friend or enemy,” the president said.