Gardner Tiptoes Around Trump Tariff Threats

UPDATE #2: Whatever he’s doing If Cory Gardner is doing anything to stop Trump’s tariffs, it ain’t working. From Politico:

The White House pledged on Thursday to charge ahead on tariffs on Mexico, saying the U.S. position “has not changed” after officials met for a second day to address the steady flow of Central American migrants trying to enter the United States.

Talks between Mexican and U.S. officials at the White House wrapped up without resolution. Several key officials in the administration were unavailable for negotiations. President Donald Trump was in France for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, and both Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were on the road.

It would sure seem like Sen. Gardner is about to get another painful wedgie.

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Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma)

UPDATE: Marianne Goodland of the Colorado Springs Gazette reports today on Colorado businesses bracing for the potential tariffs…and guess who isn’t commenting?

And all eyes are on Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, named the Senate’s most vulnerable Republican for the 2020 elections.

Gardner told Bloomberg News Monday that tariffs are “a bad idea, plain and simple.” His office declined to comment about whether his opposition would include any efforts to overturn the President’s authority under IEEPA. [Pols emphasis]

Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver) did respond to Goodland, as did House Members such as Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Lafayette), Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver), and Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Cortez).

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President Trump
today renewed his threat to place new tariffs on Mexico if America’s southern neighbor doesn’t accede to his demands on immigration — while also smacking Republican Senators for their opposition to his pressure campaign. As the Washington Post reports:

President Trump said Thursday that talks with Mexico over new measures to block migrants from entering the United States were making headway, but he renewed his threat to impose a punitive import tax on Mexican goods unless an agreement was reached before Monday.

“Something pretty dramatic could happen,” the president said, referring to the talks with Mexican diplomats, which are scheduled to continue Thursday in Washington. “We’ve told Mexico the tariffs go on. And I mean it, too.”

Trump dismissed Republican senators who have threatened to block his tariff plans, saying they “have no idea what they’re talking about when it comes to tariffs.”[Pols emphasis]

Trump is threatening to impose a 5 percent tariff on all goods imported from Mexico starting June 10; the tariff would increase by 5 percentage points every month until it reaches 25% on October 1.

Earlier this week Senate Republicans began to (meekly) push back against Trump’s threats, suggesting that the Senate could pass legislation to block the tariffs; unnamed sources even offered that the GOP had enough support to override a potential Trump veto of a Senate blocking maneuver. Economists are warning that a new import tax on Mexico could cost the United States 400,000 jobs, but even with numbers on their side, Senate Republicans are treading very carefully so as not to anger the Big Orange Guy.

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) on Wednesday

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) made a brief appearance on Wednesday in an interview with Zack Guzman and Alexis Keenan of Yahoo Finance. Gardner predicted that this tariff kerfuffle would be “resolved over the next 48 to 72 hours,” though in typical Gardner fashion, he was careful to avoid any specifics:

KEENAN: Where do you stand on [tariffs] and how much support do you have from fellow GOP members who also have said that they don’t necessarily support this action perhaps against Mexico?

GARDNER: Well, look, if you look at Colorado, a lot of those top exports are agriculture — agriculture-based — whether that’s corn, whether that’s beef, whether that’s potatoes. I don’t think there’s much support at all for tariffs overall, specifically a tariff on Mexico, and goods from Mexico. So, I think that if this were to come to a vote, there wouldn’t be much, at all, support, out of the United States Senate for a tariff. [Pols emphasis]

GUZMAN: Would that be true even if you needed President Trump’s signature on the state’s act [on marijuana legalization] to get it through as well, if push came to shove?

GARDNER: Well, look, I think they are two totally mutually exclusive issues, but tariffs are bad policy, and I don’t think you can confuse the two issues and I don’t think you can politicize the two issues together. But tariffs are bad policy. They are a tax on the American consumer, and they affect disproportionately the lowest-income earners across the country who rely more on imported goods. So, this is something that I think is bad policy, and I think you’ll see this issue resolved over the next 48 to 72 hours. [Pols emphasis]

Gardner’s prediction is that some sort of deal is reached with Mexico by late Saturday, less than two days before the new tariff is scheduled to take effect. Calling tariffs “bad policy” has been Gardner’s standard response on this issue — when reporters can actually find him — but Gardner continues to avoid saying whether he himself would support a move by the Senate to block Trump’s tariffs from taking effect. History has shown that Gardner will stand with Trump if forced to take a side, which is no doubt why he sticks to vagaries on the tariff issue.

It’s also worth noting once again that while Gardner goes out of his way to avoid talking to Colorado media outlets, he’s plenty cooperative with people he chooses to speak with:

GUZMAN: Alright, Senator Cory Gardner. Thank you so much for joining us and for calling us twice — really appreciate it.

“Calling us twice.”

This is Cory Gardner.

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  1. unnamed says:

    Me seeing Gardner's Prediction of a swift end to this tariff war:

     

  2. JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

    Speculation this morning on Mexico's retaliation for any tariffs — the consistent leak is there is a prepared list of products, that corn is not on the list (because it would be difficult to replace in the short term), and the list focuses impact on Trump states. 

     

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