Senate Democrat: Trump Mexico tariff threat 'hopefully' a breaking point for GOP

Senate Democrat: Trump Mexico tariff threat 'hopefully' a breaking point for GOP
© Stefani Reynolds

Sen. Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsGraham warned Pentagon chief about consequences of Africa policy: report Democrats fear rule of law crumbling under Trump McConnell displays mastery of Senate with impeachment victory MORE (D-Del.) said he hoped that Senate Republicans would stand up to President TrumpDonald John TrumpCensus Bureau spends millions on ad campaign to mitigate fears on excluded citizenship question Bloomberg campaign: Primary is two-way race with Sanders Democratic senator meets with Iranian foreign minister MORE amid simmering disagreements over his decision to place tariffs on Mexico. 

“Hopefully this is the break point where Senate Republicans show some wisdom and slow down our president’s endless swinging of the club of tariffs and hitting some of our closest allies,” Coons, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on CNN Wednesday morning. 

Trump announced Thursday that a 5 percent tariff would be implemented on all imports from Mexico starting next week and that it could be steadily hiked to 25 percent if the White House is dissatisfied with efforts by Mexico City to curb illegal border crossings.

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The announcement irked Senate Republicans, who have long placed high value on free trade, especially with America’s neighbors. Some members warned the White House against the plan during a meeting behind closed doors Tuesday.

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTed Cruz takes aim at Alabama vasectomy bill: 'Yikes' 'Medicare for All' will turn into health care for none Cruz 'impresses' his daughter with Chris Evans meeting MORE (R-Texas), who attended the meeting, told reporters “there was deep concern expressed in the lunch about the prospects of tariffs with Mexico.”

“I think it's fair to say … that every senator who spoke, and there were probably a half-dozen, generally had the same point of view. Nobody was supportive, who spoke,” added a second GOP lawmaker. 

Some Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate are mulling a disapproval resolution, though there is skepticism that it will be brought up on the Senate floor. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellErnst endorses bipartisan Grassley-Wyden bill to lower drug prices Senate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony Trump declares war on hardworking Americans with new budget request MORE (R-Ky.) told reporters Tuesday that “we’re hoping that doesn’t happen.”

Coons appeared to wonder how strongly Republicans would rebuke Trump on the tariffs, citing the party’s mostly consistent loyalty to the White House since the administration took power in 2017. 

“This is a Republican caucus that tends to fall in line even when they have good reason to have profound misgivings about the president’s abrupt decisions,” he said.