Republicans Aren’t Going to Stop Trump’s Tariffs on Mexico

Yes, this is California's most famous Kevin. It's embarrassing, but what can you do?Alex Edelman/CNP via ZUMA

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The news is full of storm and fury from Senate Republicans over President Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on all imports from Mexico, but none of it matters:

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) called on Senate Republicans to support President Trump’s plan to impose tariffs on Mexican exports unless that country does more to try to force action to curb illegal border crossings.

End of the day we should support the president so we can get an agreement so we don’t have tariffs. Them talking about not supporting him undercuts his ability to do that,” McCarthy, who has emerged as a staunch ally of the White House on Capitol Hill, told reporters Wednesday.

Trump’s abuse of his tariff authority should alarm everyone, including Republicans. But it doesn’t. Even if Senate Republicans somehow managed to muster the courage to stop the tariffs and then override a Trump veto, it would all stop dead in the House. There’s no courage there, and no principle either.

POSTSCRIPT: Just to be clear, by “principle” I mean the principle that the United States keeps its word. Both the WTO and NAFTA are designed specifically to prevent countries from using tariffs as generalized weapons of foreign policy, the way Trump is doing. We are signatories to both. Trump can get away with what he’s doing because, you know, who’s going to stop him? But it means that America’s word is worthless and the Republican Party is fine with that.

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