President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned Republicans lawmakers not to try and stop his new 5% tariff on Mexican imports, saying it would be foolish to try and intervene.
“I don’t think they will do that,” he said, speaking to reporters during a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May.
The tariff is set to take effect next week, Trump said, noting that they “haven’t really started yet.”
“I don’t think they will do that, if they do, it’s foolish,” he added. “There’s nothing more important than borders.”
Trump announced the 5% tariff at the end of last month, tweeting on May 30 that the percentage would “gradually increase until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied.” The rate would hit a maximum of 25% by October if he followed through on his threat.
“On June 10th, the United States will impose a 5% Tariff on all goods coming into our Country from Mexico, until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP,” he wrote, saying that once immigration was under control, the tariff would be removed.
The Washington Post, along with several other outlets, reported on Monday, however, that there was an uprising among Republicans unhappy with Trump’s decision, noting they had “begun discussing whether they may have to vote to block President Trump’s planned new tariffs on Mexico.”
CNN reported on Monday that talks were still shaky, with “no clear path forward.” GOP senators were still considering legislative options.
“Republicans were considering the possibility that they may have to vote on the national emergency underlying Trump’s threatened tariffs on Mexican goods. The vote could block the tariffs and disrupt funds the President already co-opted for border security,” the outlet wrote. “While some senators have discussed options, it doesn’t mean there’s a serious effort underway to bring forward such a vote.”
There was also lingering reluctance to publicly rebuke Trump over the matter, the outlet wrote.
Trump on Tuesday pushed back against any potential threat from Congress by playing up his broader popularity among Republicans.
“I’ve had tremendous Republican support. I have a 90% — 94% approval rating as of this morning in the Republican Party. That’s an all-time record,” he claimed. “Can you believe that? Isn’t that something. I love records.”
The Mexico tariffs are the latest signal that Trump is not interested in withdrawing from his ongoing trade war, which has impacted U.S. farmers and businesses heavily. Despite concerns from legislators in his own party that the tariffs are hurting their constituents, Trump on Tuesday doubled down, using the so-called “crisis” along the southern border to push his unpopular trade policy.
“I want to see security at our border,” he said. “… Mexico should step up and stop this onslaught, this invasion into our country.”