Although the taxes Trump has imposed on Chinese products do more harm than good to the economy, the GOP has no will to confront the president.
Republicans Are Worried but Reluctant to Tackle the Trade War
Although the GOP realizes the latest Trump’s moves in the trade war with China are damaging the national economy, they seem to have given up the efforts to corner him and make him change his mind about the huge import taxes he has imposed on China.
The paradox lies in the fact that these new tariffs that Trump uses as a weapon in the trade war with China mostly harm the agriculture-based economies of the states that fervently support the current US president.
Republicans are aware of the fact that the country’s economy may suffer greatly, especially now that the stock market has plummeted due to the trade war. But it looks like they don’t have the strength to fight against Trump’s radical economic measures anymore. They tried to stop him from imposing similar taxes on “friendly” countries last year. However, all of their attempts were in vain.
This time, they justify their indolence by saying that increasing taxes is certainly a bad move, but at least it is directed towards China.
As for the reaction of farmers, who are taking the biggest blow of Trump’s clash with China, they still give their unconditional support to their president and tend to blame the whole dire situation they’re in on China that “started it.” That’s how Missouri’s senator sees the current situation in this state that is a major producer of soya beans. The Iowa senator seems to share his colleague’s observations.
All this time, Donald Trump stayed completely insensitive to Republicans’ worries and warnings, and he continued to give contradictory information on this issue. He actually urged Americans to boycott Chinese products to avoid paying taxes, while simultaneously claiming that trade taxes are bringing tons of money to the budget. He seems to have overlooked the fact that Americans are paying these tariffs and not China.
Everybody agrees that Congress has granted too much power to the White House when trade is in question, but they are also of the opinion that the deed is done and there is nothing anyone can do to change the state of affairs. They can only try to advise Trump to reconsider his decisions or warn China that their patience has boundaries.
This defeatist attitude according to which everything is in Trump’s hands ignores and thus, denies the power Congress has to force the President to change his policy through legislation. This way, they actually support the measures they claim to object and consider harmful.
Maybe this apathy among Republicans stems from the fact that many GOP members are about to face reelection, and they don’t want to endanger their positions by confronting the President frequently. There have been many occasions so far in which Republicans have opposed Trump; for example, when he imposed similar taxes on allies or when he made illogical moves on the international political scene.
Republicans expect that the most affected states that depend on farming will send a strong message to the President. Simply put, they dropped the ball in the producers’ backyard expecting them to react to these potentially devastating measures.
While Republicans opposed aluminum and steel taxes imposed on US allies, they seem to lack the will or effort to directly confront Trump about the same situation with China. For the past two years, Republicans have made serious complaints about Trump’s trade policies. However, all their attempts to point out how radical, and probably damaging, his actions may be were futile, and that has left them resentful and helpless.
In the end, all they can do now is fear the next steps Trump may take in the trade field. At the moment, most of the senators are afraid of the new taxes Trump plans to impose on imported cars that will directly endanger the factories in southern states.