U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, the Republican senator from Louisiana, and Chuck Schumer, the Democratic minority leader from New York, generally don’t come down on the same side of things — particularly when those things involve President Donald Trump.
But count both as skeptics of Trump’s threat to impose the tariffs on Mexican imports, a move that would affect more than $11 billion in trade between that country and Louisiana.
Of course, the two senators spin their doubts differently.
On CBS’s “Face the Nation” over the weekend, Kennedy argued that “I don't think the President's going to impose these tariffs. My experience with the President is he's a very smart man. I wouldn't call him risk averse. He's been known to play with fire but not live hand grenades. And if — if — if he slaps a 25 % on Mexico it's going to tank the American economy. And I think the President knows that and I don't think he'll do it.”
And here was Schumer on the Senate floor earlier this week: “Now, frankly, I don’t believe that President Trump will actually go through with the tariffs…. President Trump has a habit of talking tough and then retreating, because his policies often can’t be implemented or don’t make sense. President Trump has a habit of proposing asinine and dangerous policies before backing off. And President Trump has a habit of pretending that the very act of not following through on a misguided policy is somehow a victory.”
Behind the scenes, Kennedy and pretty much all of his fellow Senate Republicans are urging the administration to back off. But if we’re to believe Trump himself, Schumer’s taunting may make that unlikely. From his state visit to London, the president set out to prove the Democrat — and indirectly, prove Republicans such as Kennedy — wrong.
“Can you imagine Cryin’ Chuck Schumer saying out loud, for all to hear, that I am bluffing with respect to putting Tariffs on Mexico,” Trump tweeted. “What a Creep. He would rather have our Country fail with drugs & Immigration than give Republicans a win. But he gave Mexico bad advice, no bluff!”