GOP strategist calls Trump's Mexico tariffs 'not a viable solution' on immigration

Republican strategist Lauren Claffey on Wednesday criticized President TrumpDonald John TrumpMulvaney: 'We've overreacted a little bit' to coronavirus Former CBS News president: Most major cable news outlets 'unrelentingly liberal' in 'fear and loathing' of Trump An old man like me should be made more vulnerable to death by COVID-19 MORE’s plan to impose new tariffs on Mexico over immigration, saying Trump needs to step up his efforts with lawmakers on finding a solution.

“Ultimately, we are responsible for our immigration problem and so Trump needs to work with Congress to reform the laws,” Claffey, a managing director at Hamilton Place Strategies, told Hill.TV.

“He’s failed a couple of times on actually getting Congress to move on this and that’s where he needs to be putting his effort,” she continued. “Putting this on Mexico that they’re going to somehow stem the migration from Central America and stop any people for us from coming into the country is just not a viable solution.”

Trump says he plans to move forward with his plans to gradually rise tariffs on Mexican goods to as much as 25 percent unless Mexico takes more steps to curb the influx of migrants coming through the country and trying to enter the U.S. 

Claffey said that while Trump’s threat did successfully bring Mexico to the table for negotiations, she cautioned him not to follow through on his plans, saying the move would also hurt U.S. businesses whose supply chains are deeply intertwined with Mexico. 

“If that was the sole goal of this — scare them, bringing them to the table, maybe it was successful,” she said. “But we don’t want to put tariffs on our allies, and especially Mexico, their economy and businesses are too intrinsically tied to the United States.”

Claffrey’s comments come as Senate Republicans prepare to break with Trump over his plan to impose tariffs on all exports from Mexico, possibly setting up a vote on a disapproval resolution that would block them. 

“There is not much support in my conference for tariffs, that’s for sure,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Americans debate life under COVID-19 risks The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip Democratic leaders say Trump testing strategy is 'to deny the truth' about lack of supplies MORE (R-Ky.) said at a news conference just hours after Trump criticized Republicans efforts to thwart his plan.

—Tess Bonn