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Ignoring warnings from Republicans, Trump slaps new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum

Published: Thursday, March 08, 2018 @ 10:54 AM
By: Staff Writer - Jamie Dupree

Brushing aside concerns from GOP lawmakers in Congress about spurring a trade war which might have negative impacts on the American economy, President Donald Trump on Thursday placed new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum coming into the United States, declaring the move is a “matter of necessity” for the security of the country, and a way to spur new jobs in those industries hit hard by foreign competition.

“Today, I’m defending America’s national security by placing tariffs on foreign imports of steel and aluminum,” the President said, flanked by the Vice President and top aides at the White House.

Mr. Trump said the issue of saving factory jobs in crucial industries in the United States was a central part of his campaign, as he vowed to do even more to help American workers – to put America First.

“American companies have not been treated fairly,” the President said.

Mr. Trump said if individual nations want to stop the tariffs, then they are free to negotiate new deals with the United States – more favorable to American businesses and American workers.

“We’re going to be very fair, we’re going to be very flexible, but we’re going to protect the American worker, as I said during my campaign,” the President said.

Mr. Trump said he would not levy tariffs on Canada and Mexico, as negotiations continue to re-work the North American Free Trade Agreement with those two nations – though the President made clear that if there’s no deal on NAFTA, then Canada and Mexico might face the new tariffs.

The President again complained that other nations discriminate against U.S. products, while sending in cheap items to American markets, undercutting U.S. jobs and economic growth.

“They’ve known it for years, and never did anything about it,” Mr. Trump said.

In the halls of Congress, many Republicans were trying to find a way to steer the President in a different direction, as there was already talk of GOP lawmakers trying to stop the tariffs with legislation.

“I’m assuming I won’t be the only one to do that,” said Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ).

Several dozen House Republicans