68°F
weather icon Clear

Little enthusiasm found for Trump’s plan to impose tariffs on Mexico

Updated May 31, 2019 - 7:05 pm

WASHINGTON — The challenge Friday was to find politicians, economists, business interests, associations or investors enthusiastic about President Donald Trump’s plan to impose tariffs on Mexican imports.

Trump announced his plan on Twitter on Thursday night as a means to pressure Mexico to stanch the flow of undocumented immigrants from Central America into the U.S. The president said he would impose a 5 percent tariff on all goods from Mexico starting on June 10, and threatened to increase the tariff by 5 percent each month up to 25 percent.

Tea Party Patriots honorary chairman Jenny Beth Martin hailed the move as a “bold action” meant to address an “out of control” southern border.

“It’s refreshing to see a president who’s willing to get tough, even with an ally, when our border is threatened,” she said.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was the rare GOP senator to declare strong support for the plan.

“I support President Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on Mexico until they up their game to help us with our border disaster,” he said. “The illegal flows from Central America must stop and Mexico needs to do more.”

But other Republicans broke ranks with the White House. Iowa’s two Republican senators, Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, criticized the move. Grassley slammed it as “a misuse of presidential tariff authority” that runs “counter to congressional intent. I support nearly every one of President Trump’s immigration policies, but this is not one of them.”

Ernst expressed fear that the new tariffs would kill the U.S.-Mexico-Canada pact to modify the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“If the president goes through with this, I’m afraid progress to get this trade agreement across the finish line will be stifled,” she said.

There also was little love for the tariffs among Democrats.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Trump‬⁩’s “threat to place tariffs on Mexico is not rooted in wise trade policy but has more to do with bad immigration policy on his part.”

“Slapping tariffs on one of our largest trading partners to stop immigration from other countries is irresponsible,” Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., said on Twitter. “The US should not be setting economic policy by tweet or engaging in brinksmanship that will only hurt US businesses and consumers.”

In a letter released in translation, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador schooled Trump: “You can’t solve social problems with taxes or coercive measures.”

The letter concluded with a proposal that administration officials meet with Mexico’s secretary of foreign relations, who was heading to Washington. Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard later announced on Twitter that he will meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Wednesday.

David Bier, immigration policy analyst of the Libertarian-leaning Cato Foundation, warned that tariffs would undermine economic gains made on both sides of the border under free trade.

“Mexico is already bending over backwards to accommodate this administration’s anti-immigrant agenda, and stabbing them in the back is unlikely to help,” Bier said.

National Association of Manufacturers President Jay Timmons warned that 2 million manufacturing jobs are at stake.

“Intertwining difficult trade, tariff and immigration issues creates a Molotov cocktail of policy, and America’s manufacturing workers should not be forced to suffer because of the failure to fix our immigration system.”

The stock market stumbled Friday primarily due to Trump’s decision. Both the S&P 500 index and the Dow fell more than 1 percent.

Contact Debra J. Saunders at dsaunders@reviewjournal.com or 202-662-7391. Follow @DebraJSaunders on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Bernie Sanders Unveils Affordable Housing Plan - Video
Bernie Sanders sits down with the Las Vegas Review-Journal to talk about his new affordable housing plan he unveiled at Plumbers & Pipefitters.
Jim Marchant talks gun control and Dreamers - Video
Republican Candidate for District 4 Jim Marchant talks about gun control and immigration policies. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hurricanes, Gender, and Science in the Press
Imagine if the mainstream media’s current hurricane-sized obsession with scientific accuracy applied to gender.
Cory Booker on college tuition and minimum wage
Cory Booker talks on the RJ Politics podcast about college debt, informing workers about their rights and livable wages.
Nevada Politics Today: Teacher raises - VIDEO
Jason Goudie, the chief financial officer for the Clark County School District, talks about teacher pay and raises. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Media's Double Standard On Incitement And Trump - Video
Over the weekend, an Elizabeth Warren-supporting socialist who opposed gun violence used a rifle to commit a mass murder in Dayton, Ohio. The media has downplayed that aspect of the tragedy.
Project Our Care Tour Kicks Off In Las Vegas
U.S. Rep. Dina Titus joined health care advocates and local residents as part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour kick off in Las Vegas on Monday, August 5, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders talks about guns, response to El Paso shooting
Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke about his response and continued policy ideas about guns and gun control to the Review-Journal after a panel of other topics. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pete Buttigieg On Gun Control And Climate Change - Video
Pete Buttigieg talks about his campaign for the 2020 election and how Nevada is a vision of what the future can be.
Beto O'Rourke speaks in Las Vegas
Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke spoke to supporters at the East Las Vegas Community Center in Las Vegas, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Nevada Senate leader Kelvin Atkinson sentenced to prison
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson, who pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds, was sentenced to 27 months in prison on Thursday, July 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trumps Strength is also a Weakness - Video
One of Donald Trump’s greatest strengths — his ability to shape national narratives — is also a great weakness.
Tax the Rich Bus Tour makes a stop in Las Vegas - Video
The Tax the Rich Bus has stopped in Las Vegas as part of its summer tour. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ - Video
Assembly Woman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ to bring the community together to hear about the candidates up for election and for people to gather and have fun.
Democrat Virtual Caucus - Video
Elizabeth Warren visits Las Vegas
Senator Elizabeth Warren made a campaign stop at the East Las Vegas Community Center on Tuesday July 2, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Aaron Ford Speaks About Bill AB431
AB431 is a bill sponsored by Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson to restore the right to vote for formerly incarcerated individuals. Attorney General Aaron Ford spoke at the AM&E Church in North Las Vegas about the bill, on Monday, July 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST
Democrats press for whistleblower complaint details, impeachment

Congressional Democrats on Monday pressed their demands for full disclosure of a whistleblower’s complaint about President Donald Trump and intensified their calls for impeachment. Trump insisted anew he did nothing wrong.

Hunter Biden said he didn’t use influence with father in Ukraine unrest

In 2014, then-Vice President Joe Biden was at the forefront of American diplomatic efforts to support Ukraine’s fragile democratic government as it sought to fend off Russian aggression and root out corruption. So it raised eyebrows when Biden’s son Hunter was hired by a Ukrainian gas company.

Trump to face questions about Ukraine, Iran, allies during 3-day UN visit

President Donald Trump heads into his three-day visit to the United Nations this week hoping to lean on strained alliances while fending off questions about whether he sought foreign help to damage a political rival.

Arab lawmakers in Israel endorse Gantz for prime minister

It will be up to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to decide which candidate should be given the chance to form a coalition government and serve as prime minister.

Iran asks West to leave Persian Gulf as tensions heightened

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s president called Sunday on Western powers to leave the security of the Persian Gulf to regional nations led by Tehran, criticizing a new U.S.-led coalition patrolling the region’s waterways as nationwide parades showcased the Islamic Republic’s military arsenal.