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Schumer: Trump must back down from ‘sweeping’ tariffs

Schumer: Trump must back down from ‘sweeping’ tariffs
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Health care a top policy message in fall campaigns McConnell says deficits 'not a Republican problem' Medicare for All is disastrous for American seniors and taxpayers MORE (D-N.Y.) is urging President TrumpDonald John TrumpCorker: US must determine responsibility in Saudi journalist's death Five takeaways from testy Heller-Rosen debate in Nevada Dem senator calls for US action after 'preposterous' Saudi explanation MORE to back down from his proposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, instead urging the president to focus on China.

“The president's instincts to go after China are correct, but the policy he proposes doesn't fit the bill. It's not well targeted. It's not precise. And as a result, it could cause a mess of collateral damage that hurts America more than it helps,” Schumer said on Wednesday.

Schumer added that “the sweeping nature of the tariffs has already angered key allies in Canada and Europe, justifiably, and could draw reciprocal tariffs on American goods.”

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Trump’s proposed tariffs have sparked a backlash on Capitol Hill, particularly among Republican lawmakers who are publicly, and privately, urging him to back down.

Though some red- and purple-state Democrats up for reelection in states Trump won in 2016 have praised his decision, others have urged him to make the financial penalties more narrowly targeted.

Schumer added on Wednesday that Democrats would be able to support Trump if the proposed tariffs were more directed at China, but “his execution is poor.”

“He has to back off this plan, which doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do. Major harm is done to allies like Canada and Europe, not to China. ... A trade war is not what we want,” he said.

Trump has shown no signs of backing off his tariff plan, despite pushback from lawmakers and key allies. The European Union has threatened retaliatory tariffs.

The president's top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, announced his resignation Tuesday after spending months trying to convince the president not to impose the tariffs.

Schumer urged the White House to “address the real problems instead of creating new ones.”

“The Trump administration should rethink its approach to sweeping tariffs while there is still time and instead focus its attention on China,” he said.