News & Politics

'What's the Plan?': Republicans Are Terrified of Trump's Trade War with the World

His actions could destroy them during the midterms.

Photo Credit: NBC News

Who could have seen it coming? Month after month at rally after rally, Donald Trump sneered and jeered and railed about how the world was cheating the U.S. on trade, the system was rigged and he would burn it all down. And now, by god, he's doing it—and Republicans are beside themselves. 

He's ripped up the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), stalled on renotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and slapped tariffs on China, Mexico, Canada, and the EU all at the same time.

"I hope he knows what he's doing," Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley told Fox NewsWednesday. 

"I'm very, very nervous about it, and my constituents are very, very nervous about it," Grassley said on Fox News. "It doesn't just affect the 5 percent of the people in Iowa that operate farms. It ripples through the whole economy."

"What worries me," Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker said on MSNBC Wednesday, "is the fact that I know that no one at the White House can articulate what it is they're hoping to accomplish."

South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds was a bit more blunt. "What's the plan?" he wondered, echoing the concerns of his constituents. 

In fact, Rounds told MSNBC Wednesday that Trump's trade escapade was wearing thin with his constituents. South Dakota ranchers and farmers alone had lost almost three-quarters of a billion dollars due to price drops since March 1, Rounds said. He also specifically benoaned the Trump administration's failure to renegotiate both the TPP and NAFTA trade deals. TPP would have provided "half a billion people in the Pacific rim" buying U.S. products, he noted.

"What we want to see is evidence of success," Rounds said. "None of them are done," he added of the trade deals. And none of that puts Trump in "a position of strength" to negotiate with China or anyone else for that matter. Rounds concluded:

I've talked to soybean producers today, I've talked to representatives of the American Farm Bureau. All of them have said the same thing. We're supportive of the president, we get that we don't have really good trade deals out there, but it's gotten a lot worse in the last couple of months. So what's the plan?

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