Schumer: Trump must back down from ‘sweeping’ tariffs

Schumer: Trump must back down from ‘sweeping’ tariffs
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMontana's environmental lobby teams with governor to kill 600 jobs Dems allow separation of parents, children to continue, just to score political points Democrats' education agenda would jeopardize state-level success MORE (D-N.Y.) is urging President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN analyst Kirsten Powers: Melania's jacket should read 'Let them eat cake' CNN's Cuomo confronts Lewandowski over 'womp womp' remark Sessions says FBI agent Peter Strzok no longer has his security clearance MORE to back down from his proposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, instead urging the president to focus on China.

“The president's instincts to go after China are correct, but the policy he proposes doesn't fit the bill. It's not well targeted. It's not precise. And as a result, it could cause a mess of collateral damage that hurts America more than it helps,” Schumer said on Wednesday.

Schumer added that “the sweeping nature of the tariffs has already angered key allies in Canada and Europe, justifiably, and could draw reciprocal tariffs on American goods.”

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Trump’s proposed tariffs have sparked a backlash on Capitol Hill, particularly among Republican lawmakers who are publicly, and privately, urging him to back down.

Though some red- and purple-state Democrats up for reelection in states Trump won in 2016 have praised his decision, others have urged him to make the financial penalties more narrowly targeted.

Schumer added on Wednesday that Democrats would be able to support Trump if the proposed tariffs were more directed at China, but “his execution is poor.”

“He has to back off this plan, which doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do. Major harm is done to allies like Canada and Europe, not to China. ... A trade war is not what we want,” he said.

Trump has shown no signs of backing off his tariff plan, despite pushback from lawmakers and key allies. The European Union has threatened retaliatory tariffs.

The president's top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, announced his resignation Tuesday after spending months trying to convince the president not to impose the tariffs.

Schumer urged the White House to “address the real problems instead of creating new ones.”

“The Trump administration should rethink its approach to sweeping tariffs while there is still time and instead focus its attention on China,” he said.