Surrounded by a group of steel and aluminum workers, President Trump signed off on his plan to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports Thursday at the White House. In placing a 25 percent tariff on foreign steel and a 10 percent tariff on foreign aluminum, Trump said he had America's national security in mind.
The U.S. is answering the "assault on our country," he said.
He made exceptions, however, for Mexico and Canada, granted they renegotiate NAFTA. He had high hopes for a new deal.
"I have a feeling we're going to make a deal on NAFTA," Trump said. "If we do, there won't be any tariffs on Canada and there won't be any tariffs on Mexico."
Lawmakers, however, a great deal of whom are Republicans, have publicly opposed Trump's tariff plan. More than 100 Republicans penned a letter to the president urging him to reconsider, for the sake of American businesses and consumers.
"We are writing to express deep concern about the prospect of broad, global tariffs on aluminum and steel imports," the letter says. "Because tariffs are taxes that make U.S. businesses less competitive and U.S. consumers poorer, any tariffs that are imposed should be designed to address specific distortions caused by unfair trade practices in a targeted way while minimizing negative consequences on American businesses and consumers."
While Trump claims the tariffs will help rein in China's unfair trading practices, Republicans like Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC) say Trump is "letting China off the hook."
If Trump heard the complaints, he did not heed them.
"It's about time," Trump said Thursday, before putting pen to paper.
The tariffs take effect in 15 days.