After working together for last year’s tax reform, President Trump and the GOP establishment have come to a collision on trade.
Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs delivered a solemn monologue on Wednesday in which he urged Republicans–specifically House Speaker Paul Ryan (Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.)– to cooperate with the president’s proposed tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum lest the party suffer historic defeat in November’s midterm elections.
Dobbs reacted to a letter signed by 107 Republican lawmakers that expressed “deep concern” for the tariffs, which President Trump is unveiling Thursday.
107 Republican (Globalist) lawmakers pen letter to Pres. Trump expressing concern over steel and aluminum tariffs. pic.twitter.com/PcOZ3NpbRR
— Josh Caplan (@joshdcaplan) March 7, 2018
“Deep concerns?” Dobbs asked. “Now, deep concerns are common in the deep state. But where is their concern about our trade deficit, which hit a nine-year high of more than $56 billion in January?”
The host also cited the 2017 trade deficit of nearly $570 billion–the biggest since 2008.
“Despite the latest evidence that wealth is being squandered and this country still being taken advantage of by those unfair trade deals, RINOs continue to fight President Trump,” he continued.
“Chief among those rival RINOs–Speaker Ryan, Leader McConnell. They’re doing the best they can to do the bidding of the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable irrespective of the impact on economic growth in this country, the impact on jobs, millions of which were shipped overseas by US multinationals.”
Dobbs noted that the “Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable rank among the top three spenders on lobbying our elected officials.”
He went on to slam opponents of the Trump tariffs as “anti-middle class, anti-working man and woman, anti-small business, and … anti-American.”
Dobbs closed this rant with a warning regarding the GOP’s electoral chances should party leadership continue to diverge from President Trump on trade:
“If Republicans continue to battle this president on these policies, Ryan and McConnell will be responsible for the largest loss of seats by the majority party in a century.
“And, most likely, the 107 Republicans who have put their names down in opposition to the president’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and on aluminum, will be among the unemployed come next year.”
McConnell said he and his colleagues have a “high level of concern” about the economic consequences of tariffs, CNN reported.
According to the New York Times, a spokesperson for Ryan said the Speaker is “extremely worried about the consequences of a trade war.”
President Trump’s position on tariffs led to resignation of White House chief economic advisor Gary Cohn on Tuesday.
While the president has not backed down from the tariffs, he tweeted on Thursday that he’s willing to show “greater flexibility and cooperation” to “real friends” of the US.
Looking forward to 3:30 P.M. meeting today at the White House. We have to protect & build our Steel and Aluminum Industries while at the same time showing great flexibility and cooperation toward those that are real friends and treat us fairly on both trade and the military.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 8, 2018