Senior Republican leaders are panicking now that Trump's trade war is rattling their base, forcing Trump to send out his economic team to do damage control.
Republicans are already out in public openly worrying that Trump’s erratically announced tariffs are hurting the economy and provoking a major backlash.
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) said Trump’s tariffs are “a fine mess that they have gotten us into.”
Senate Majority Leader and Trump ally Mitch McConnell (R-KY), speaking to farmers and business leaders in Kentucky, distanced himself from Trump. He told the audience, “I’m not a fan of tariffs, and I am nervous about what appears to be a growing trend in the administration to levy tariffs.”
He added, “My hope is that this will stop before it gets into a broader tit-for-tat that can’t be good for our country.”
It may already be too late.
China has begun announcing a flurry of tariffs in retaliation against Trump’s announcement, including one that will make pork products prohibitively expensive to export to the lucrative Chinese market. Farmers in states that backed Trump are going to be on the front lines of those getting hurt in the crossfire.
The policy was clearly not thought through, like so much under Trump.
The administration was forced to deploy its top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, to television in order to sooth investor concerns. Kudlow was recently appointed as head of Trump’s National Economic Council after getting Trump’s attention as a TV pundit.
Kudlow claimed, incredibly, that what is occurring is “absolutely not” a trade war, and insisted that Americans should “blame China, not President Trump” for the fallout from the back and forth between the countries.
“There’s no trade war here,” he said. Addressing the stock market, which has dropped hundreds of points in reaction to the economic uncertainty, Kudlow said, “Don’t overreact.”
Then he promised, “At the end of this whole process, the end of the rainbow, there’s a pot of gold.”
Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow on the stock market tanking because of Trump’s tariffs: “Blame China.” pic.twitter.com/HOf2HA0F9t
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 4, 2018
Pots of gold at the ends of rainbows are myths and fairy tales.
The Trump team, led by Trump’s own impulses, has unleashed forces they don’t understand and haven’t even bothered to study. The U.S. economy and millions of jobs are at stake, as is the global economy.
The last economic recession was in part triggered by those in the George W. Bush administration who prized conservative ideology over economic reality. Figures like Kudlow insisted there was no recession coming that time either.
But there was no pot of gold, and it took leadership from President Barack Obama and Democrats to fix things and create the recovery being experienced today.
Trump is pushing for dangerous ideas that jeopardize that recovery, and even other Republicans like McConnell see the warning signs and are trying to stop him before he ruins everything, again.