MSNBC's Joe Scarborough on Tuesday said he believes President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE will "pull back" on plans to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum not long after a key special election in Pennsylvania's 18th District is held next week.
The commentary on "Morning Joe" comes as the RealClearPolitics average of polls shows the race between Democrat Conor Lamb and Republican Rick Saccone as a toss-up.
“Listen, I think this [imposing tariffs] is all about Pennsylvania 18," Scarborough said. "He’s going to wait till Pennsylvania 18 is over and then he’s going to pull back on this."
"They’ve got a race in the suburbs, in Pittsburgh. They let that play out next Tuesday, he pulls back, decides not to do it," he continued.
Trump won the usually reliably red district in the heart of steel country by 20 points over Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats worry negative images are defining White House Heller won't say if Biden won election Whitmer trailing GOP challenger by 6 points in Michigan governor race: poll MORE in the 2016 presidential election en route to becoming the first Republican to win Pennsylvania since 1988.
The president has faced widespread criticism, especially from members of his own party, on the decision to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent tariff on aluminum over fears it could hurt the economy while sparking a trade war.
Some Democrats and the AFL-CIO, the largest union federation in the country, have endorsed the decision.
GOP strategists and other nonpartisan political pundits believe the president, in looking ahead to his 2020 reelection bid, is using the tariffs to focus on holding onto key "blue wall" states that had voted Democratic for years before the president surprisingly won them in 2016.
“Clearly he’s targeting Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Those were, all four, key battleground states for him in the last election and the states he would have to win if he’s going to win reelection,” Saul Anuzis, a political strategist and former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, told The Hill.
“It’s a very calculated, direct move with regards to the constituency he needs,” he added. “Campaigns are no longer limited to months before the election but literally start the day after someone gets elected.”