GOP senator rips Trump tariffs: ‘This is dumb’

Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SassePollster: Attitudes toward Trump's farm aid are 'highly wrapped up' in feelings toward president Poll: Majority of Americans support Trump's plan to offer aid to farmers hit by tariffs Hillicon Valley: 'QAnon' conspiracy theory jumps to primetime | Senate Intel broadens look into social media manipulation | Senate rejects push for more election security funds | Reddit reveals hack MORE (R-Neb.) on Thursday blasted President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House counsel called Trump 'King Kong' behind his back: report Trump stays out of Arizona's ugly and costly GOP fight Trump claims he instructed White House counsel to cooperate with Mueller MORE after his administration announced it would impose steep tariffs on the European Union, Canada and Mexico, calling the move "dumb." 

"This is dumb," Sasse said. "Europe, Canada, and Mexico are not China, and you don't treat allies the same way you treat opponents. We've been down this road before — blanket protectionism is a big part of why America had a Great Depression.

"'Make America Great Again' shouldn't mean 'Make America 1929 again.'"

Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossJudge says California lawsuit challenging census question can proceed On The Money: Trump asks SEC to consider ditching quarterly reports | Turkish court refuses to release US pastor | Russia sanctions hearing, vote on consumer chief next week On The Money: US-China trade talks to resume | Mnuchin warns of more Turkey sanctions | How Turkey's financial crisis could roil the US | Senate GOP seeks tax law fixes MORE announced that the U.S. would levy steel and aluminum tariffs on the EU, Canada and Mexico — a move that puts an end to the temporary exemptions the three trading allies received after Trump made the initial tariffs announcement in March. 

Trump is using a U.S. law called Section 232 that allows tariffs to be imposed for national security purposes. Thursday's decision will lead to tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum.

“We look forward to continued negotiations with Canada and Mexico on one hand and with the European Commission on the other hand as there are other issues we need to get resolved,” Ross said Thursday. 

The trading partners are expected to quickly respond. Mexico said it would implement new duties on various U.S. products, such as flat steels, lamps, pork legs and shoulders, sausages, and food preparations. The EU has promised to institute tariffs of about $3.3 billion on products like bourbon, jeans and motorcycles.

Many Democratic and Republican lawmakers have criticized the move. Like Sasse, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said the tariffs on steel and aluminum imports would have "damaging consequences" for Americans. 

"Tariffs on steel and aluminum imports are a tax hike on Americans," he said in a statement.