President Trump's new trade policy is getting criticized by people who usually rush to his defense. Top Republicans are urging the president to reconsider his tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, in part because of how it will impact American farmers. China is coming for them first with their retaliatory action. In response to Trump's tariffs, China hit U.S. agriculture by placing a 25 percent tariff on imports of U.S. soybeans, airplanes and automobiles.
"The United States should take action to defend its interests when any foreign nation isn’t playing by the rules or refuses to police itself," Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said. "But farmers and ranchers shouldn't be expected to bear the brunt of retaliation for the entire country."
"Let's absolutely take on Chinese bad behavior," Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) agrees. "But with a plan that punishes them instead of us. This is the dumbest possible way to do this."
Meanwhile, Democrats are singing his praises. Former Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh wrote a whole op-ed for Fox News explaining the merits of Trump's decision to add tariffs.
While I have major policy differences with President Trump and his administration, it is essential that he stay the course and not cower to China’s bullying. Our political leaders should not take this tremendous victory away from tens of thousands of America’s aluminum and steelworkers by reversing or watering down the president’s decision.
The tariffs will let working-class families across Indiana and the United States "feel more confident in the security of their jobs," Bayh continued.
U.S. Senate candidate Mitt Romney, himself once a pretty vocal Trump critic, also had no issue giving the president props for his trade move.
The $100 billion in tariffs against China will "wake up" the "cheating" country, he said.
"I think the president is leading with some policies that will wake up our friends in China and they’ll recognize that business as usual is going to have to change."
Trump assured Americans a trade war is not in the cards.
We are not in a trade war with China, that war was lost many years ago by the foolish, or incompetent, people who represented the U.S. Now we have a Trade Deficit of $500 Billion a year, with Intellectual Property Theft of another $300 Billion. We cannot let this continue!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 4, 2018
That, however, is not exactly what the treasury secretary said today.
"There is the potential of a trade war," Steven Mnuchin cautioned.