GOP senator: Trump used tariffs 'brilliantly' in Mexico negotiations

Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonWhistleblower retaliation: Stop confusing unlawful attacks with politics Congress looks to strengthen hand in State Department following impeachment Senate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony MORE (R-Wis.) said Sunday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpComey responds to Trump with Mariah Carey gif: 'Why are you so obsessed with me?' Congress to get election security briefing next month amid Intel drama New York man accused of making death threats against Schumer, Schiff MORE used the threat of tariffs on Mexican goods as leverage “brilliantly” in recent negotiations aimed at reducing illegal immigration.

Johnson, the chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, demurred when asked on “Fox News Sunday” if Trump would have faced a revolt from Republican senators had proposed 5 percent tariffs gone into effect.

“I think the caucus definitely supports tariffs as leverage to get our trading partners to treat us fairly with reciprocal treatment,” Johnson said.

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Johnson added that while he was concerned about a slowdown in hiring in May and believed tariffs to be a “tax on consumers,” he had talked to numerous constituents who said that they supported Trump’s trade policies, regarding both Mexico and China, despite "short-term pain."

“We’ve got to conclude these trade deals so we can bring the certainty back to the economy that the president provided,” Johnson told Fox News’s Bret Baier.

On Friday, Trump announced the 5 percent tariffs, which were set to take effect June 10 and incrementally increase until reaching 25 percent, would not go into effect due to concessions secured from Mexico on border security.

On Saturday, The New York Times reported some of the concessions had previously been reached in March.

Several Trump allies had previously warned of potential fallout from the tariffs had they gone into effect, with Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott Gardner8 people arrested outside Trump rally in Colorado for 'obstructed traffic' Trump seeks to boost vulnerable GOP senator with Colorado rally Nonpartisan election forecaster moves Colorado Senate race to 'leans Democratic' MORE (R-Colo.), one of the most vulnerable GOP senators up for reelection in 2020, saying last week that they could wipe out any economic gains from 2017 Republican-passed tax reform.