Mitch McConnell: Trump’s Tariffs Are a ‘Slippery Slope’

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) warned on Tuesday that President Donald Trump’s penchant to levy tariffs is a “slippery slope” that could lead to an all-out trade war that hurts the United States. “I’m not a fan of tariffs, and I am nervous about what appears to be a growing trend in the administration to levy tariffs,” McConnell said at a gathering of business leaders in Kentucky. “This is a slippery slope, so my hope is that this will stop before it gets into a broader tit-for-tat that can’t be good for our country.” McConnell, whose Republican colleagues have been similarly critical of the president’s trade policies, said he was “nervous about getting into trade wars and I hope this doesn’t go too far.” But congressional Republicans have opted against taking legislative action to nullify the tariffs, even as they warn the White House that protectionist policies could upend the positive economic arguments that Republicans are hoping to use in the midterm elections. Both McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) have indicated that they prefer to work with the administration to tailor the tariffs to specific countries or imports, rather than act legislatively.

—Andrew Desiderio