Flake: Anti-tariff Republican should challenge Trump in 2020

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross poses before a roundtable briefing in Hong Kong in September

"Protecting American workers and our vital steel and aluminum industries is important to our economy and our national security, and I am glad to see President Trump working to do that", she said in a statement.

The White House says Mexico, Canada and other countries may be spared from President Donald Trump's planned steel and aluminum tariffs under national security "carve-outs", a move that could soften the blow amid threats of retaliation by trading partners and dire economic warnings from lawmakers and business groups.

On the tariffs, Flake said Trump had introduced "dual poisons" for the economy, by erecting new trade barriers and then introducing uncertainty by suggesting he might make some exceptions for certain countries.

The chief executive imposed the new levies last week in an effort to protect American industries and jobs, and to promote fairer trade on the global markets.

The Arizona Republican explained that he couldn't get re-elected in his party right now because he believes in free trade and has expressed reservations towards the president, who is a member of his party.

When he initially decided on the plan, he reportedly said that the 25 percent tariff on foreign steel and 10 percent tariff on foreign aluminum would apply to all countries, because otherwise, everyone would ask for an exemption.

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The lawmakers wrote that "any tariffs that are imposed should be created to address specific distortions caused by unfair trade practices in a targeted way while minimizing negative consequences on American businesses and consumers".

The House speaker's condemnation was swiftly echoed by other top Republicans in Congress, who fear the tariffs could spark a trade war and hurt the U.S. economy. We stopped increasing the regulatory burden and actually started reducing the regulatory burden.

Notably, no Republican lawmakers attended the White House event.

He went on to say that it would be a tough go for any Republican to run a primary campaign against Trump. An analysis by Brookings Institution past year showed that areas that voted for Trump are more dependent on exports, which foreign countries could target in retaliation.

Economic analysts warn that a trade dispute sparked by the tariffs could damage communities that backed the president in 2016. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), have argued that they are at risk of becoming "normalized".

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