GOP senators surprised to attend Trump’s tariffs announcement

GOP senators surprised to attend Trump’s tariffs announcement
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GOP lawmakers who visited the White House on Wednesday were surprised to walk into President TrumpDonald TrumpFive takeaways from the Ohio special primaries Missouri Rep. Billy Long enters Senate GOP primary Trump-backed Mike Carey wins GOP primary in Ohio special election MORE's announcement on reducing tariffs with the European Union. 

A group of lawmakers told ABC News that they were supposed to meet with Trump about trade, but instead the president pulled them into the Rose Garden event with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. 

“The word that we got from staff was, as it was coming together, [Trump] was saying, ‘OK, what’s the next meeting?'" Sen. James LankfordJames Paul LankfordAbbott slams Ben & Jerry's for Palestine support: 'Disgraceful' Democrat stalls Biden's border nominee Republican calls on Oklahoma to ban Ben & Jerry's MORE (R-Okla.) told ABC. "And they said, 'Mr. President, the next meeting is with senators and House members,' and he said, 'Well, just bring them on out to hear this because they'll want to hear it.'" 


The group of senators and House members, most of whom are from agricultural states, planned to warn Trump against his aggressive trade policies. 

Trump in recent weeks has slapped billions of dollars in tariffs on products from countries including China, Mexico and Canada, as well as the EU. 

During the announcement on Wednesday, Trump announced he and Juncker had agreed "to work together toward zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods," indicating a reduction in tension.

Though it appeared to some onlookers that the Republican lawmakers were attending the announcement with prior knowledge of its content, they confirmed to ABC that they did not know what it was going to be about. 

“We arrived there, and then we became eye candy,” Senate Agriculture Committee chairman Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsBob Dole, Pat Roberts endorse Kansas AG Derek Schmidt for governor Ex-Sen. Cory Gardner joins lobbying firm Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain MORE (R-Kan.) said. 


The lawmakers said they wanted to discuss the Trump administration's recent offer to provide $12 billion in aid for farmers affected by other countries' retaliatory tariffs. They said they wanted Trump to roll back tariffs rather than provide government aid, ABC reported. Farm groups have also expressed concern.

"Our sense is the dominoes can’t start falling until the first one starts falling, but there are so many deals in the air right now that if you’re going to redo trade negotiations, you’ve got to have a beginning point," Lankford said.

Agriculture has been one of the hardest hit industries following Trump's tariffs.