Sasse: ‘Tariffs always hurt us’

Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseSasse: Trump shouldn't dignify Putin with Helsinki summit McCain to Trump: Cancel meeting if you won't hold Putin accountable Sasse: Putin is neither America's friend nor Trump's buddy MORE (R-Neb.) early Thursday attacked President TrumpDonald John TrumpSasse: Trump shouldn't dignify Putin with Helsinki summit Top LGBT group projects message onto Presidential Palace in Helsinki ahead of Trump-Putin summit Hillary Clinton to Trump ahead of Putin summit: 'Do you know which team you play for?' MORE's plan for tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, warning that they would kill American jobs.

Sasse during an interview on "CBS This Morning" disputed Trump's claim that it is "easy" to win trade wars, saying that "nobody" would win such an international conflict.


"Tariffs always hurt us. Ultimately, nobody ever wins a trade war. Both sides lose a trade war," Sasse, a frequent critic of the president, said. "Trade is indisputably good for America, it's good for consumers on both sides of every trading relationship, all of our trade deals have been on-net-good for America in terms of job creation, and a lot of the public doesn't understand that."

"Let's look at steel in particular," he continued. "When you raise tariffs on steel, 321 million American consumers lose. Because everyone who went to the store last night, buying something for their kids or for their household that they need, there were metal products in it. And when you have tariffs, you raise prices on steel and all 321 million Americans lose."

Sasse went on to predict that manufacturing plants that rely on steel or aluminum imports would face economic hardships under the Trump plan.

"If you just look at steel, this plan will kill steel jobs in America," he said.

Trump's plan to raise tariffs by 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports shocked many in Washington and around the world, with the president facing criticism from a wide range of critics including Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanGOP leaders jockey for affection of House conservatives Five GOP lawmakers mulling bid to lead conservative caucus On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Trump walks back criticism of UK Brexit strategy | McConnell worries US in 'early stages' of trade war | US trade deficit with China hits new record MORE (R-Wis.) and British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Trump has defended his planned tariffs, however, calling them crucial to protecting America's steel industry.

“We are on the losing side of almost all trade deals,” Trump tweeted Sunday. “Our friends and enemies have taken advantage of the U.S. for many years. Our Steel and Aluminum industries are dead. Sorry, it’s time for a change! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”