GOP senator rips Trump tariffs: ‘This is dumb’

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) on Thursday blasted President Trump after his administration announced it would impose steep tariffs on the European Union, Canada and Mexico, calling the move “dumb.” 

“This is dumb,” Sasse said. “Europe, Canada, and Mexico are not China, and you don’t treat allies the same way you treat opponents. We’ve been down this road before — blanket protectionism is a big part of why America had a Great Depression.

“‘Make America Great Again’ shouldn’t mean ‘Make America 1929 again.'”

{mosads}Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced that the U.S. would levy steel and aluminum tariffs on the EU, Canada and Mexico — a move that puts an end to the temporary exemptions the three trading allies received after Trump made the initial tariffs announcement in March. 

Trump is using a U.S. law called Section 232 that allows tariffs to be imposed for national security purposes. Thursday’s decision will lead to tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum.

“We look forward to continued negotiations with Canada and Mexico on one hand and with the European Commission on the other hand as there are other issues we need to get resolved,” Ross said Thursday. 

The trading partners are expected to quickly respond. Mexico said it would implement new duties on various U.S. products, such as flat steels, lamps, pork legs and shoulders, sausages, and food preparations. The EU has promised to institute tariffs of about $3.3 billion on products like bourbon, jeans and motorcycles.

Many Democratic and Republican lawmakers have criticized the move. Like Sasse, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said the tariffs on steel and aluminum imports would have “damaging consequences” for Americans. 

“Tariffs on steel and aluminum imports are a tax hike on Americans,” he said in a statement. 

Tags Ben Sasse Donald Trump Orrin Hatch Wilbur Ross

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