Republicans are beginning to speak up about Trump's disastrous trade war.
Trump's trade war is dragging the economy down, and now some Republicans are worried it will take the GOP down with it.
Free-trade Republicans such as Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) are getting nervous. He said "there's no question" that concerns about the trade war are "contributing to the slowdown." This mild comment set Trump off. On Fox News Radio Thursday morning, Trump complained: "What does Pat Toomey want me to do?"
Toomey is right about an economic slowdown.
On Thursday, the Department of Commerce revised the second-quarter gross domestic product estimate downward from 2.1% to 2%. That drop is being attributed to Trump's trade war. Recall that Trump promised 4% economic growth while running for president. Failing that, the administration announced it was shooting for 3% during 2018, but it didn't meet that goal either.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) is worried too, saying "the biggest risk to the economy is the whole trade situation" and that Trump's trade war "injected a huge dose of uncertainty and instability."
This concern isn't limited to elected officials. GOP strategists are worried too. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who runs a center-right leaning think tank, said that the economy slowing "could be a political threat" and that if the economy slows to 1%, "[y]ou can't survive that." He added that Republicans running in 2020 need to ask themselves "at what point is it better for you separate yourself from the president as opposed to riding his coattails?"
Republicans already had to separate themselves from Trump on the economy in the 2018 election because the 2017 tax cuts were so unpopular.
Trump, however, doesn't want to hear it. He's still tweeting about how the U.S. economy is "the Biggest, Strongest and Most Powerful Economy in the World" and that "Business Optimism is at an All Time High!" That may be because his own economic advisers know better than to bring him bad news and instead are, the New York Times reported, giving Trump "upbeat assessments in which they argue that the domestic economy is stronger than many forecasters are making it out to be."
GOP senators and representatives up for election in 2020 are going to need to decide who to believe: actual economic indicators or the fevered assertions of Trump.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.