- Conservative organizations panned the steel and aluminum tariffs implemented by President Donald Trump on Thursday.
- On the flipside, left-leaning groups and individuals praised the plan as beneficial to US workers.
When President Donald Trump signed his executive order to implement new tariffs on aluminum and steel on Thursday, political groups traded places as conservative organizations panned the proposal while liberal groups cheered its arrival.
The Heritage Foundation, which has long-backed Trump and served as a guiding hand for much of the White House’s policy agendas, expressed sharp disapproval.
“Tariffs are a tax increase on American workers and their families,” said Heritage President Kay Coles James in a statement shortly after Trump signed the order. ‘The president’s decision today to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports is disappointing, economically regressive and counterproductive.”
“Further, arguments that tariffs are necessary for national security reasons are not compelling,” James added. “Tariffs do not protect the ‘forgotten men and women’ of this country or bring back jobs. Rather, they could cost current and future American jobs and increase costs on consumer goods. The Heritage Foundation stands for an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity, and civil society flourish.”
James also echoed Republican lawmakers, suggesting that the tariffs will have an adverse effect and harm the US economy and diminish the economic gains made so far during the Trump administration.
“President Trump has done so much. We need him to do the right thing now: scrap the tariffs and return his focus to policies that will grow and invigorate the economy to the benefit of all Americans,” she said.
Tim Phillips, the president of Americans for Prosperity, also condemned the tariffs as “disappointing” and a threat to the economy.
“Tariffs undermine free markets and free societies, whether they are imposed across the board or are narrowly tailored to manipulate certain sectors of the economy,” Phillips said in a statement. “Millions of innocent Americans stand to lose when they are forced to pay higher prices due to misguided government actions.”
FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon ripped the move ahead of Trump’s announcement, adding to the chorus of conservatives against tariffs.
“The Trump administration would mar its otherwise strong economic record by imposing these tariffs,” Brandon said in a statement. “These could be a lethal blow to all the economic success this administration has ushered in. Higher costs to producers and distributors of goods always get passed on to us, the consumers.”
Progressives cheer the new tariffs as a boon to American workers
“Tariffs won’t start a trade war, there’s 435 of them in place today to fight trade cheaters,” wrote top union boss and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “People may not like how Pres Trump rolled these out, but I applaud him for trying.”
“The real trade war is the war on workers – and we’ve been getting our butts kicked for decades,” he added. “Just look at southwestern PA. Targeted tariffs are the best way to start fighting back and hold cheaters accountable.”
Josh Bivens, the director of research at the Economic Policy Institute, wrote in an op-ed at the New York Times ahead of Trump’s announcement that backlash to the plan is “reflexive anti-Trump sentiment rather than careful economic reasoning.”
“The proposed tariffs can provide a countervailing force against these foreign subsidies and protect American metal producers until a comprehensive solution is found,” Bivens added. “Am I confident that the Trump administration will back a smart and efficient solution to the larger problem? Not really – but this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be happy to have some breathing room to find one.”