Once Donald Trump realized that Republicans in the Senate were looking at ways to block the ill-advised tariffs that he intends to levy on Mexico unless they “do something about immigration,” he apparently turned to his old standby, the national emergency.
That’s according to reporters who spoke to Senate Republicans as they exited a closed-door meeting with Trump’s deputy White House Counsel Pat Philbin and officials from the Department of Justice. Lawmakers said the issue had been raised in the meeting, but nothing concrete had yet been announced or negotiated between Trump’s team and the Senators present.
Republicans do not and historically have not supported tariffs either as an economic or a punitive measure — especially those on committees whose purviews include foreign relations, agriculture, international commerce, or other affairs directly affected by draconian measures a President can enact on a whim.
The tepid opposition Republicans have offered up to Trump so far, however, has served more as an indicator of their hypocrisy and weakness than it has shown actual resolve to prevent Trump from steering the economy into a ditch: They opposed his emergency declaration on the border earlier this year on the grounds that they feared Democrats using such a move in the future to fund projects antithetical to what conservatives want, but didn’t have the votes to override his veto.
But while their concerns at that time were purely political, they now have actual cause to fear Trump could do serious, lasting damage to both the economy and to international relations with Mexico.
It might be a smaller concern if the demand on Trump’s end weren’t so ineffably vague. He’s literally demanding that Mexico do something that no country on earth has thus far been able to do — completely control their borders — and to do it in a matter of weeks. If it were anyone but the long-since-proven-insane Donald Trump, we’d start questioning the President’s sanity.
All of this, of course, is reported under the umbrella of the knowledge that no previous emergency declaration has done anything for Trump or been effective in any way, and has been forgotten almost immediately, so it’s hard to gauge what effect this might have on the state of anything at all. But tariffs are something that Trump can do on his own, and that’s worrying.
Featured image via screen capture
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