Trump Races Toward 25 Percent Tariff on Auto Imports

Speeding toward tariff town. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump is accelerating toward imposing a 25 percent tariff on close to $200 billion in foreign auto imports later this year, the Washington Post reported Wednesday. And he’s doing it despite his advisers honking their horns and waving their arms as Trump gets closer to driving the U.S. economy over a cliff.

It’s not just those inside his own administration who oppose the idea either. Lawmakers from both parties do, too, and, perhaps more importantly, the U.S. automakers who would be the ostensible beneficiaries of the tariffs have come out against the idea.

General Motors has told the Commerce Department that, despite Trump’s assertion that tariffs would help American companies and American workers, it expects tariffs to result in “less investment, fewer jobs, and lower wages.” And foreign-car companies that make vehicles in the U.S., including Mercedes, BMW, and Volkswagen, would likely hemorrhage jobs if Trump’s tariffs became a reality. Then there’re the consumers, who could be paying between $1,400 and $7,000 more on each vehicle, according to one study.

Trump’s willingness to buck the advice of his advisers is evidence of an “increasingly defiant … trade strategy,” the Post reports. As the man himself said on Twitter Wednesday, any lawmaker who questions his tariffs is “weak.”

Among those who’d Trump likely consider weak is Senator Lamar Alexander, a Republican who has a bipartisan bill with Democratic senator Doug Jones that would stop the Commerce Department from imposing the car tariffs.

Trump will take his competitive approach on trade into a meeting Wednesday with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, who will come armed with proposals meant to appease the mad man behind the wheel.

Trump Races Toward 25 Percent Tariff on Auto Imports