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 CoonsBill to return B in unredeemed bonds advances Grassley: Kavanaugh classmate didn't contact Senate panel Democratic senator: Attacks on Saudi oil refineries 'may call for military action against Iran' MORE (D-Del.) said he hoped that Senate Republicans would stand up to President TrumpDonald John TrumpJimmy Carter: 'I hope there's an age limit' on presidency White House fires DHS general counsel: report Trump to cap California trip with visit to the border 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 CruzDemocrats seize Senate floor to protest gun inaction: 'Put up or shut up' Prospects for Trump gun deal grow dimmer Ted Cruz knocks New York Times for 'stunning' correction on Kavanaugh report 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 McConnellDemocrats seize Senate floor to protest gun inaction: 'Put up or shut up' Democrats press for action on election security Hillicon Valley: Election security looms over funding talks | Antitrust enforcers in turf war | Facebook details new oversight board | Apple fights EU tax bill 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.