President Donald Trump has faced staunch opposition across the board from the Democratic Party, who have been nothing but against him since he took office. But that was predictable.
Far less understandable and perhaps even more infuriating is the opposition Trump has received from a few top elected members of his own Republican Party, such as outgoing Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, a Republican who is now pushing legislation to tie Trump’s hands on trade issues.
They want control
The Trump administration sees economic security in America as directly liked to U.S. national security — and justly so. With this in mind, Trump and his team have sought to utilize tariffs on certain goods and raw materials that are integral to security.
He’s using these tariffs as a temporary tool to help forge more equitable agreements with our nation’s trading partners. But Corker, seven other Republican senators, and four Democratic senators have introduced a bill that would require Trump to obtain congressional approval prior to imposing tariffs for national security reasons.
“While we all agree on the need to ensure the international trade system is fair for American workers, companies and consumers, unfortunately, the administration is abusing the Section 232 authority delegated to the president by Congress,” Corker said in a statement.
“Making claims regarding national security to justify what is inherently an economic question not only harms the very people we all want to help and impairs relations with our allies but also could invite our competitors to retaliate,” Corker went on.
The senator added: “If the president truly believes invoking Section 232 is necessary to protect the United States from a genuine threat, he should make the case to Congress and to the American people and do the hard work necessary to secure congressional approval.”
Corker is joined in his opposition to Trump by fellow establishment Republican Sens. Jeff Flake (AZ), Johnny Isakson (GA), Ben Sasse (NE), Pat Toomey (PA), Lamar Alexander (TN), Mike Lee (Utah), and Ron Johnson (WI).
Breitbart reported that Trump and Corker held a “heated” phone conversation in regard to Corker’s measure on Wednesday, during which Trump asked the senator to stand down in his opposition. But Corker reportedly insisted he would persist in the effort to block the president from using tariffs as a tool.
Thankfully, it appears that Corker lacks sufficient support to move his Trump-blocking legislation along, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) stated he had no intentions of bringing it to the floor for a vote.
However, McConnell did warn that those in support of the measure could attempt to attach it to some other unrelated piece of legislation in order to procure a vote, though Trump would likely veto the bill, and it is unlikely that two-thirds of either branch of Congress could rally in support and override that veto.
This is nothing more than an effort by anti-Trump senators on both sides of the aisle to stymie the president’s agenda by forcing him to obtain their approval to do certain aspects of his job. Luckily, McConnell and other pro-Trump Republicans simply won’t stand for it.