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

Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGraham: Trump will 'be helpful' to all Senate GOP incumbents Partisan headwinds threaten Capitol riot commission Cruz hires Trump campaign press aide as communications director MORE (R-Wis.) said Sunday that President TrumpDonald TrumpNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech On The Trail: Cuomo and Newsom — a story of two embattled governors McCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 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 GardnerBiden administration reverses Trump changes it says 'undermined' conservation program Gardner to lead new GOP super PAC ahead of midterms OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court rules against fast-track of Trump EPA's 'secret science' rule | Bureau of Land Management exodus: Agency lost 87 percent of staff in Trump HQ relocation | GM commits to electric light duty fleet by 2035 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.