April 15, 2024

Republicans Opposing Trump on Trade Face Election Quandary

Few Republicans break with Trump on tariffs

The awkwardness starts at the top for congressional Republicans. Mr. Ryan, for example, has been one of the loudest cheerleaders for the $1.5 trillion in tax cuts that Republicans sped through Congress late last year, and has frequently praised Mr. Trump for them. He criticized Mr. Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs when they were announced.

“There are better ways to help American workers and consumers,” Mr. Ryan said in May, after Mr. Trump allowed the tariffs to hit imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union. “I intend to keep working with the president on those better options.”

Last week, though, Mr. Ryan urged “patience” for Wisconsin farmers who have been caught in an escalating series of tariffs between the United States and China. “So I think the idea and the strategy of — it’s hard ball, it’s tariffs, it’s tough talk — but if it results in good agreements with our allies and a unified developed world front to go get China to play by the rules, then that’s a pretty darn good outcome,” Mr. Ryan told the website Wispolitics.com. “So I would simply say, be patient for that.”

But to the chagrin of some Washington conservatives, Republican voters nationwide support Mr. Trump just as strongly on trade as they do on taxes — and they say trade will be a bigger factor in their midterm vote. Among registered voters, 80 percent of Republicans support Mr. Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs, compared with 84 percent who support the tax cuts. Nearly two-thirds of them say that the North American Free Trade Agreement has been bad for the American economy.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/18/business/economy/republicans-trump-trade.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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