Koch groups launch multimillion campaign against Trump tariffs

Koch groups launch multimillion campaign against Trump tariffs

Three advocacy groups backed by Charles and David Koch on Monday announced a multimillion dollar campaign to push back against tariffs and the kinds of trade barriers that President TrumpDonald John TrumpEx-ethics chief calls on Trump to end 'monstrous' migrant policies Laura Bush blasts Trump migrant policy as 'cruel' and 'immoral' US denies report of coalition airstrike on Syria MORE supports.

The groups Freedom Partners, Americans for Prosperity and The LIBRE Initiative will take out ads, hold events and engage in lobbying as part of the effort.

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“The Trump administration has taken some incredibly positive steps for the American economy, but tariffs will undercut that progress and needlessly hamstring our full economic potential,” said Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips.

Trump last week announced the end of exemptions that Canada, Mexico and the European Union were receiving for tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. He has also threatened to impose $50 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, trade negotiations to renew the North American Free Trade Agreement have faltered, and negotiations to resolve trade disputes with China have so far proved inconclusive.

While conservative groups have been vocal about their opposition to Trump's trade policies, the initiative to push back over the public airwaves marks an escalation in the rift between Trump and the Koch brothers on trade.

“This campaign makes a clear statement: Trade is a major priority for our network. We will work aggressively to educate policymakers and others about the facts,” said James Davis, executive vice president of Freedom Partners.

The group may find fertile ground in Congress. Already, five Republican senators have signed on to an effort to rein in executive authority in imposing certain trade barriers.

“I am working with like-minded Republican senators on ways to push back on the president using authorities in ways never intended and that are damaging to our country and our allies. Will Democrats join us?” retiring Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerSanford: GOP lawmakers 'running for cover' over fear of Trump tweets Trump’s trusted diplomat faces daunting task with North Korea George Will says Trump doesn’t inspire ‘cult’ in GOP: ‘This is fear’ MORE (R-Tenn.) tweeted over the weekend after linking to articles about Trump’s tariffs.