President Donald Trump advocated steep tariffs on steel and other imports despite significant opposition from his advisors during a Monday meeting.
While meeting with over 20 officials, including Vice President Mike Pence and a small group of America First advisors, Trump argued in favor of implementing a roughly 20 percent tariff on steel and other imports, according to Axios.
Roughly three-fourths of those present at the meeting were adamantly opposed to Trump’s protectionist inclinations. They argued the move would harm the U.S. economy and could potentially lead to a significant confrontation with U.S. trading partners.
Trade policy director Peter Navarro and senior policy adviser Stephen Miller were apparently the only people in the room besides Trump who supported the proposed tariff on steel and other imports like aluminum, semiconductors, paper, and appliances like washing machines.
While Trump has cast the potential steel tariff as an effort to level the playing field with China, officials explained the move would likely have negative implications for U.S. trade relations with long standing allies like Canada, Mexico, Japan, Germany and the U.K.
Despite the overwhelming opposition to the trade proposal, officials say they left the meeting under the impression that Trump was undeterred by the pushback.
Administration sources told Axios Trump’s insistence on protectionist legislation is likely a political move designed to shore up his base in the midst of sinking popularity. The final decision on the issue will likely be made in the next few days.
White House officials anticipate the tariff would likely prompt affected industries like automakers to immediately seek a court injunction.
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