President Donald Trump mocked Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and denied the Democrat’s assertion that his proposed tariffs against Mexican imports are merely a bluff.
“Can you imagine Cryin’ Chuck Schumer saying out loud, for all to hear, that I am bluffing with respect to putting Tariffs on Mexico. What a Creep,” Trump tweeted.
Trump, who is conducting a three-day state visit of the UK, published the tweet on Wednesday at 1:30 a.m. local time (Tuesday evening for much of the US).
“He would rather have our Country fail with drugs & Immigration than give Republicans a win,” he added. “But he gave Mexico bad advice, no bluff!”
Earlier on Tuesday, Schumer suggested the tariffs were just another sign of Trump’s penchant for political showmanship.
“Frankly, I don’t believe President Trump will actually go through with the tariffs,” Schumer said on the Senate floor.
“President Trump has a habit of talking tough and then retreating, because his policies often … can’t be implemented or don’t make sense,” Schumer added. “So I wouldn’t be surprised at all if President Trump doesn’t follow through on these tariffs, either.”
Trump announced the new tariffs on Thursday, in response to what his administration described as a crisis at the US-Mexico border. Trump and his surrogates allege that Mexico has done little to curb the rising rate of migrants crossing the border, and threatened the country with tariffs as high as 25% by October.
“On June 10th, the United States will impose a 5% Tariff on all goods coming into our Country from Mexico, until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP,” Trump announced on Twitter. “The Tariff will gradually increase until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied, at which time the Tariffs will be removed.”
“Mexico must step up and help solve this problem,” Trump added in a separate statement. “For years, Mexico has not treated us fairly — but we are now asserting our rights as a sovereign Nation.”
Global equities nosedived and the peso sunk following Trump’s threat. Some economists theorize that the tariffs will hurt the US economy and American consumers will bear much of the burden in the looming trade measures.
Lawmakers from both parties warned of the tariff’s economic consequences to the US, which is already under pressure from the trade war with China. Lawmakers could vote to overturn Trump’s emergency declaration — the underlying argument for his tariffs. Trump could veto the disapproval resolution, as he did in March, but Congress could muster the required two-thirds vote to override his potential veto.
On Tuesday, Senate Republicans apparently warned Trump administration officials during a closed-door lunch meeting that “there could be trouble if the GOP-held Senate votes on disapproving the tariffs,” the Associated Press reported.
“There is not much support in my conference for tariffs, that’s for sure,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said to The New York Times.
“Republicans don’t like taxes on American consumers, which is what tariffs are,” Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said, according to USA TODAY.
“I think the president and the administration ought to be concerned about another vote of disapproval,” he continued.
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas likened the policy to a dangerous “game” with potentially disastrous consequences and called the tariffs a tax on Texans.
“If the outcome of this game of chicken is massive new tariffs that destroy jobs in Texas, and across the country, that would be a terrible mistake,” Cruz reportedly said.