GOP senator on tariffs: ‘Disappointing’ that free trade is not politically popular

Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonJuan Williams: Putin wins as GOP spins GOP senator: Harley-Davidson is right to move some production overseas GOP senator: Trump’s policies doing 'permanent damage' MORE (R-Wis.) said on Thursday that he finds it "disappointing that free and fair trade is nto politically popular," comments that come as President TrumpDonald John TrumpNFL freezes policy barring players from protesting during anthem McConnell spokesman on Putin visit: 'There is no invitation from Congress' Petition urges University of Virginia not to hire Marc Short MORE prepares new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

"It's actually very disappointing that free and fair trade is not politically popular," Johnson said on CNN's "New Day."

"There's been a fair amount of demagoguery on all sides of the aisle on this issue. So the American public in general does not support free and fair trade, and I think that's unfortunate. I think it's just an incorrect economic position to take."

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The anticipated tariffs have opened a divide between Trump and congressional Republicans, many of whom have come out in opposition to plan. 

Trump's expected decision to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports acts on recommendations put forth earlier this year in a report by the Commerce Department that declared steel and aluminum exported from China and elsewhere to be national security threats.

The expected tariffs have been rebuked by numerous foreign governments, raising the prospect of a retaliatory trade war.

Trump brushed off those concerns last week, writing on Twitter that "trade wars are good, and easy to win."