Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) issued a statement Thursday afternoon blasting the Trump administration’s move to impose 25 percent tariffs on steel imports and 10 percent tariffs on aluminum imports, saying the decision will “harm the American economy” and “hurt American workers.”
“President Trump’s decision to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports will not protect America,” McCain wrote. “Reminiscent of failed protectionist trade policies of the past, this decision will harm the American economy, hurt American workers, and damage relations with America’s allies and partners.”
McCain criticized Trump for not taking “targeted action” against trade abuses committed by China, while instead imposing tariffs that hurt America and its allies.
“President Trump compounded that mistake by forfeiting the opportunity to take targeted action to hold China accountable for its behavior in international trade. Instead, he chose to adopt sweeping tariffs that will punish our most important allies and partners all around the world,” he wrote.
“This strategic mistake will only succeed in undermining the credibility of American leadership on free and open trade.”
“There is a better way. America should engage on trade from a place of leadership, demonstrating confidence and strength. We should champion a positive free trade agenda to break down trade barriers and open new markets for American companies,” he concluded.
The Hill added:
Trump’s tariff proposal was almost uniformly criticized by Republicans including House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), but the president’s congressional allies were unable to dissuade him from the plan.
The AFL-CIO issued rare praise for the Trump plan, however, with the group’s president Richard Trumka applauding Trump on Twitter.
“Tariffs won’t start a trade war, there’s 435 of them in place today to fight trade cheaters. People may not like how Pres Trump rolled these out, but I applaud him for trying,” Trumka wrote.