Trump’s protectionist policies have angered politicians and economists of both parties, with many arguing that new tariffs would ignite a trade war with foreign powers.
“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,” said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in a statement.
But other Republicans weren’t so glum about the new trade policies:
“Donald Trump has been great for the economy. He is looking out for American workers and trying to grow the American economy. This might have just been a starting bid from @POTUS … I don’t think he will do anything to hurt the economy, growth…” @RepSeanDuffy on #tariffs pic.twitter.com/LrPc31XEKs
— Trish Regan (@trish_regan) March 7, 2018
But Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin), had a few positive things to say, arguing that tariffs will send “a strong message to bad actors like China.”
But according to The Hill, David Stockman, the former budget director during the Raegan administration, slammed the steel lobby: “The steel industry are the crybabies of the beltway lobby farm. They gang tackle every new president that comes in with their tale of woe. In this case, they’ve got the biggest sucker yet.”
Entrepreneurs and business owners in the U.S. were also a mixed bag of reactions:
I am against import duties in general, but the current rules make things very difficult. It’s like competing in an Olympic race wearing lead shoes.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 8, 2018
Meanwhile, Cody Lusk, president of the American International Automobile Dealers Association, had this to say: “These proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports couldn’t come at a worse time. Auto sales have flattened in recent months, and manufacturers are not prepared to absorb a sharp increase in the cost to build cars and trucks in America. The burden of these tariffs, as always, will be passed on to the American consumer.”
World leaders have already shot back at Trump’s trade policy, threatening tariffs of their own in a signal of a looming trade war.
“Choosing a trade war is a mistaken prescription,” said Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, according to The New York Times. “The outcome will only be harmful. China would have to make a justified and necessary response.”
And The Washington Post says that the EU has named peanut butter, cranberries and orange juice as potential targets for retaliatory tariffs on American products.