Thursday, July 12, 2018

Will the Trade War Trump Started Take Down the GOP?

So far there has been little limit as to how far Republicans will go in prostituting themselves to Donald Trump.  Indeed, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell make real life tawdry prostitutes look somewhat virtuous in comparison.  But there are signs that among some Republicans perhaps the desire for self-preservation at the polls may be beginning to make them realize that Trump's completely self-initiated trade war could be very bad news.  Already, the Chinese, European Union and Canadian responses to Trump's unhinged tariffs against them are causing economic pain in the Mid-West and Trump voting counties.  And this is before China responds to Trump's new $200 billion tariff increase on China.  With luck, the economic pain in states like Iowa that threw America principles on the trash heap and supported Trump will be truly horrific (I believe embracing hate and bigotry need to have very severe consequences).  A piece in Politico looks at growing GOP angst over Trump's possible total destruction of the party.  Here are excerpts:
While President Donald Trump was in Europe speaking for America’s interest in the world, Vice President Mike Pence was in the heartland speaking to its anxieties.

On Wednesday, as Trump excoriated America’s allies for taking advantage of his nation’s largesse, Pence was gliding through the greater Midwest, seeking to calm the nerves of farmers and political foot soldiers worried that the administration’s policies will irrevocably hit their pocketbooks and set back the party before the midterm elections.
The split screen . . . underscores the administration’s high-risk, high-reward approach to global diplomacy and domestic policy that helped it claim the White House and keep its base energized and loyal, yet could plunge the GOP into peril if things go off the rails.
Republicans are growing nervous about the latter possibility. . . . there’s a real fear among our members that a trade war will squander the economic gains we made with tax reform,” a senior GOP official on Capitol Hill told POLITICO on Wednesday.
Trump’s tough talk with allies, coming ahead of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, is adding to their discomfort. . . . the Republican-led U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of a motion supporting NATO, a move viewed as reflecting Congress’ concerns over [Trump's] the president’s menacing talk about the alliance.
In Brussels, Trump accused Germany of being “totally controlled” by Russia and lashed out at a controversial gas pipeline project. Trump also reiterated his calls for NATO leaders to increase military spending.
Even as he softened somewhat in meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, his remarks from earlier in the day continued to serve as the basis for questioning from reporters, who asked Macron whether he agreed with Trump that Germany is captive to Russia.
“No,” Macron said, bluntly, after Trump, perhaps flippantly, told reporters he was glad the press was asking the French president the question.  Back at home, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) told reporters he didn’t agree with Trump’s accusation.
[T]he uncomfortable reaction domestically to Trump’s renewed haranguing of European allies from members of his own party — and his dispatching of Pence to the Midwest to palliate mounting concerns about a trade war — may begin to foretell an acknowledgment that Republicans could pay a political cost for rocking the boat.
Democratic leaders, sharpening their campaign message head of the midterms, indicated they intend to exploit the issue by depicting the president’s behavior on the world stage as “an embarrassment.” They contend that he’s more interested in cozying up to Putin, who Trump recently suggested is easier to deal with.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a joint statement Wednesday: “His behavior this morning is another profoundly disturbing signal that the President is more loyal to President Putin than to our NATO allies.”
Meanwhile, Democrats up and down the ballot are warning that the trade war will devastate the economy — and they are making their Republican opponents answer to whether they agree with Trump.
Democratic messaging has largely focused on the party's candidates doing what’s best for constituents while arguing Republicans will serve as a rubber stamp for Trump.
And so far, Republicans are keeping a stiff upper lip about the political risk of Trump’s trade war. The Pence team framed his visit through the Midwest as part of the vice president’s packed campaign schedule — not a move of tariff damage control.
Pence, of course, is as big a liar as Trump, so anything coming from his lips should be considered untrue until proven otherwise.  

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