Defiant Republican senators warned Trump administration officials Tuesday they were prepared to block the president’s effort to impose tariffs on Mexican imports, threatening to assemble a veto-proof majority to mount their most direct confrontation with the president since he took office.
During a closed-door lunch on Capitol Hill, at least a half-dozen senators spoke in opposition to the tariffs President Trump intends to levy next week in an attempt to force Mexico to limit Central American migration to the United States. No senator spoke in support, according to multiple people present who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private meeting.
The lawmakers told officials from the White House and Justice Department they probably had the Senate votes they needed to take action on the tariffs, even if that meant overriding a veto.
Still in London, Trump responded,
“Mexico shouldn’t allow millions of people to try and enter our country, and they could stop it very quickly and I think they will,” Trump said at a news conference alongside British Prime Minister Theresa May. “And if they won’t, we’re going to put tariffs on. And every month those tariffs go from 5 percent to 10 percent to 15 percent to 20 and then to 25 percent.”
This should terrify the stuffing out of all of us, because it would be a disaster for the U.S. economy. (And if you want to be genuinely terrified, see Paul Krugman.) There are frantic meetings going on right now between Mexican and White House officials to put together some kind of agreement that would give Trump a “win,” even a bogus one, so that he backs down on the threat. And let’s hope that works, because even if the Senate decides to override a Trump veto, Democrats do not have a big enough majority in the House to override by themselves — it takes a 2/3 vote — and House Republicans are nuttier than a peanut farm and probably think the tariffs are a grand idea.
So, while I would love to see Senate Republicans stand up to Trump, let’s hope Trump is talked off the ledge before it comes to that. And I still say Republican senators wouldn’t be talking about defying Trump if they weren’t being pressured by the Masters of the Universe, a.k.a. the 1 percent. I’ve said all along that when the day comes Trump pisses off those people, he’s toast.
In other news, former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declares it’s time to open an impeachment inquiry.