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Republicans in key midterm races caution against Trump's new tariffs

President Donald Trump's decision to follow through on steel and aluminum tariffs against some of the United States' ...

Posted: May 31, 2018 5:27 PM
Updated: May 31, 2018 5:27 PM

President Donald Trump's decision to follow through on steel and aluminum tariffs against some of the United States' closest allies puts a series of vulnerable Republicans at considerable risk, leading some of those candidates to caution the President against following through with the trade talk.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told reporters that a 25% tariff on imported steel and 10% on imported aluminum from Canada, Mexico and the European Union will take effect on Friday.

Mexico announced in a statement Thursday it would retaliate against the US by imposing "equivalent measures" on products such as "flat steel, lamps, pork and numerous produce items until the US eliminates the imposed tariffs."

Some Republicans are worried. Party operatives told CNN Thursday that they are fretting the ramifications of more trade talk, worried that those countries could respond by targeting key US exports, many of which come from districts that could decide the balance of the House in November.

"Trade is an area where President Trump's thinking and policy differs profoundly from most other Republicans," said longtime Republican operative Michael Steel.

"I think there are real worries that a trade war could undercut the strong impact tax reform has had on jobs and the economy, so you'll see Republicans across the country make it very, very clear that they support expanded American trade and the jobs that come with it - particularly in states and Congressional Districts that would be hardest hit."

Here's what two Republicans in those districts are saying:

  • Rep. David Valadao, who represents the agricultural heart of California: "Agriculture drives the American economy and is the backbone of the Central Valley's economy," Valadao said in response to Thursday's news. "Proposed tariffs seriously jeopardize our farmers' access to export markets, which account for roughly twenty percent of their production." (In an interview with CNN earlier this week, Valadao said farmers "would rather have no change than any change" and that Trump pushes "a little harder than what some people are comfortable with.")
  • Jim Hagedorn is of two Republicans running to represent Minnesota's 1st Congressional district, home to Martin County, Minnesota, the self-proclaimed "Bacon Capitol of the USA." He told CNN on Thursday, "I trust that President Trump and his trade negotiators understand the critical correlation between expanding global markets for US businesses, especially farmers agri-businesses, and a strong economy for those of us who reside in rural America."

Although tough talk on trade animated Trump's 2016 campaign, it has also been one area where Republicans, especially those with heavily agricultural states or districts, have broken with him.

  • "This is dumb," Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, an outspoken opponent to Trump's trade talk, bluntly said on Thursday. "We've been down this road before-blanket protectionism is a big part of why America had a Great Depression."

Those fears are both policy and politically focused, too. Republicans have maintained a dominance in rural America for years, but some top Republicans worry that making moves that hurt farmers and growers could have disastrous political implications for Republicans.

As CNN analyst Ron Brownstein wrote earlier this year, Trump's trade rhetoric "threatens to light a bonfire directly beneath the Republican Party's last firewall against potentially significant losses in the 2018 midterm elections."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 455783

Reported Deaths: 6166
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin945441502
Ramsey40698749
Dakota33623354
Anoka31398368
Washington20579237
Stearns18111190
St. Louis14006251
Scott1221199
Wright11811107
Olmsted1083075
Sherburne831270
Carver705639
Clay660684
Rice624774
Kandiyohi558772
Blue Earth549533
Crow Wing490678
Otter Tail464968
Chisago460438
Benton423788
Winona394948
Douglas379766
Nobles374847
Mower374429
Goodhue358163
Polk330760
McLeod328647
Beltrami316148
Morrison314645
Lyon306139
Becker289439
Itasca287843
Isanti286143
Carlton284443
Steele279510
Pine270515
Freeborn254723
Todd233730
Nicollet230538
Brown218634
Mille Lacs215745
Le Sueur214416
Cass210824
Meeker201533
Waseca193316
Wabasha17483
Martin172026
Roseau166517
Hubbard151138
Redwood141327
Houston140314
Dodge13974
Renville138540
Chippewa133232
Cottonwood129118
Fillmore12778
Wadena120818
Rock112012
Aitkin111533
Faribault110116
Sibley11017
Watonwan10698
Pennington101016
Kanabec99818
Pipestone97223
Yellow Medicine95016
Murray9137
Jackson87310
Swift84718
Pope7485
Stevens7078
Marshall70415
Clearwater68814
Lake66415
Lac qui Parle66116
Wilkin63510
Koochiching60810
Lincoln4912
Big Stone4703
Unassigned43968
Grant4388
Norman4268
Mahnomen4167
Kittson37420
Red Lake3204
Traverse2623
Lake of the Woods1981
Cook1160

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 312194

Reported Deaths: 4433
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk46975465
Linn18114279
Scott15900172
Black Hawk14123243
Woodbury13145181
Johnson1231752
Dubuque11651159
Pottawattamie9182115
Dallas910872
Story883538
Cerro Gordo474372
Webster473377
Warren461539
Sioux460457
Clinton459168
Marshall432262
Buena Vista397230
Muscatine396578
Des Moines395543
Plymouth353670
Wapello351798
Jasper333359
Lee326932
Marion310853
Jones275250
Henry269131
Carroll258934
Bremer250448
Crawford235824
Washington224133
Boone223517
Benton213950
Mahaska198637
Jackson195332
Tama190959
Dickinson189229
Kossuth180944
Delaware176536
Clay173021
Wright167624
Fayette166324
Hamilton162530
Buchanan162324
Winneshiek161020
Harrison158762
Hardin157831
Cedar155819
Clayton153949
Butler152324
Page148115
Floyd141936
Cherokee140327
Mills138517
Lyon137933
Poweshiek135424
Hancock132424
Allamakee131530
Iowa128022
Madison124210
Calhoun12379
Grundy122828
Jefferson122425
Winnebago122329
Mitchell117137
Louisa116430
Cass115343
Chickasaw113812
Appanoose113040
Sac112815
Union111723
Emmet111332
Humboldt107819
Shelby106427
Guthrie104624
Franklin103618
Unassigned10210
Palo Alto92611
Montgomery89224
Keokuk86426
Howard85919
Monroe82620
Clarke8199
Pocahontas78711
Ida76430
Davis70421
Adair69720
Greene6977
Monona68418
Lucas66910
Osceola65011
Worth6224
Taylor6009
Fremont5276
Van Buren50515
Decatur4994
Ringgold45511
Audubon4258
Wayne42021
Adams3023
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