Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) said he is working with a group of “like-minded Republican senators” to push back against Donald Trump’s use of authority “in ways never intended and that are damaging to our countries and our allies,” as fears escalate over a possible trade war.
Corker made his remarks on Saturday after tweeting two articles that were critical of Trump’s economic policies. One of them, a Wall Street Journal op-ed, argued that Trump’s tariff threats showed him to be an “old-fashioned protectionist.”
The other, a Washington Post piece, outlined how Trump was increasingly making economic interventions himself, instead of keeping it up to the free market.
“These two stories feel like something I could have read in a local Caracas newspaper last week, not in America,” Corker tweeted in response. “Venezuela, here WE come!”
“I am working with like-minded Republican senators on ways to push back on the president using authorities in ways never intended and that are damaging to our country and our allies,” Corker added. “Will Democrats join us?”
I am working with like-minded Republican senators on ways to push back on the president using authorities in ways never intended and that are damaging to our country and our allies. Will Democrats join us?
— Senator Bob Corker (@SenBobCorker) June 2, 2018
Corker’s comments come as six finance ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) — including Canada, France, Germany Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom — all asked U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to convey their “unanimous concern and disappointment” over Trump’s recent decision to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union.
“The Americans have decided — in our mind — to take an action that is not at all constructive,” Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau said on Saturday. “It’s actually destructive in our ability to get something done around tariffs on steel and aluminum.”
Senior Republicans also criticized Trump’s tariff decision earlier in the week.
On Friday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called on Trump to reconsider his decision, arguing that it would “slow, if not impede significantly, the progress we are making economically for the country.” Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) said on Thursday that he “disagree[d]” with Trump’s decision as well.
U.S. allies have been furious with Trump’s tariff decision. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau canceled a scheduled trip to the United States this week, and reminded reporters that the U.S. has a $2 billion trade surplus with Canada, which is the number one customer for U.S. steel.
Mexico, meanwhile, responded by slapping its own tariffs on a long list of U.S. products and called Trump’s measures “neither adequate nor justified.”
Across the Atlantic, Trump ignored E.U. warnings that it would respond with tariffs of their own, effectively spiking the E.U. while his administration seeks simultaneously to co-operate with Europe on killing the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.