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Flake: If GOP can't stand up for free trade 'what are we here for?'

Flake: If GOP can't stand up for free trade 'what are we here for?'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeMnuchin pulls out of Saudi conference The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Health care a top policy message in fall campaigns On The Money: Treasury official charged with leaking info on ex-Trump advisers | Trump to seek 5 percent budget cut from Cabinet members | Mnuchin to decide by Thursday on attending Saudi conference MORE (R-Ariz.) on Tuesday questioned why the Republican party is not standing up more forcefully against President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Guardian slams Trump over comments about assault on reporter Five takeaways from the first North Dakota Senate debate Watchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US MORE's tariffs.

“If Republicans can’t stand up to tariffs and for free trade, then what are we here for?” Flake told reporters.

"This is a big part of what we stand for, free trade. Fiscal discipline, we seem to have thrown that out the window. And now if we throw this out, it's tough to see who we are,” Flake added.

The senator’s comments come after Trump called fair trade “fool trade” in a tweet on Sunday following a contentious G-7 meeting in Canada.

The president recently announced a 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum from most nations including allies Canada, Mexico and the European Union.

Trump has said that Canada and other countries have taken advantage of the U.S. and created trade deficits that hurt Americans.

A number of countries have announced they would take reciprocal action against the tariffs, raising fears of a trade war with allies.

Flake, who has been a vocal Trump critic, went after White House National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro earlier this week for comments he made about Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

"There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door," Navarro told Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday."

"Fellow Republicans, this is not who we are. This cannot be our party," Flake tweeted later Sunday.