Freedom Caucus pushing for last-minute meeting with Trump over tariffs, trade: report

Freedom Caucus pushing for last-minute meeting with Trump over tariffs, trade: report
© Greg Nash

Members of the House Freedom Caucus are attempting to set up a meeting with President TrumpDonald John TrumpGillibrand backs federal classification of third gender: report Former Carter pollster, Bannon ally Patrick Caddell dies at 68 Heather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN Ambassador job MORE before he implements his new tariffs on aluminum and steel imports, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine — Trump, Congress prepare for new border wall fight Winners and losers in the border security deal GOP braces for Trump's emergency declaration MORE (R-N.C.), the group's chairman, has spoken with the president multiple times in the last few days to relay their concerns to Trump and push for a more targeted tariff package that aligns with the Freedom Caucus's support for free trade, according to several sources who spoke to the Post.

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On Wednesday, Rep. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyKey author of GOP tax law joins Ernst and Young Lawmakers beat lobbyists at charity hockey game Democrats step up work to get Trump tax returns MORE (R-Texas) was leading the group's effort to set up a meeting with Trump, joined by other House Republicans critical of the president's protectionist stances on trade, the newspaper reported.

A White House official told the newspaper that meeting was unlikely to happen, however. Trump has reportedly complained in closed-door meetings about Canada's stance on North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiations and has indicated a stubbornness on the issue of tariffs.

The president announced last week that his administration would implement tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports, while White House officials have gone back and forth over whether the tariffs will apply to the U.S.'s closest neighbors. Trump himself has indicated they will likely apply even to NAFTA members Mexico and Canada.

"Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum will only come off if new & fair NAFTA agreement is signed," Trump tweeted on Monday, adding, "Mexico must do much more on stopping drugs from pouring into the U.S. They have not done what needs to be done."

House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanUnscripted Trump keeps audience guessing in Rose Garden Coulter defends Paul Ryan: This is 100 percent Trump's fault The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Trump escalates border fight with emergency declaration MORE's (R-Wis.) office said Monday that the Speaker had raised his own concerns with Trump's proposal on multiple occasions.

“We are extremely worried about the consequences of a trade war and are urging the White House to not advance with this plan,” AshLee Strong, Ryan’s spokeswoman, said in a statement. “The new tax reform law has boosted the economy and we certainly don't want to jeopardize those gains.”