Although they don’t mention Trump by name in their joint letter, seven Republican U.S. Senators have now signed on to a new push for the Biden administration to end harsh trade conditions that have carried over from the Trump era. The Trump administration imposed steep tariffs covering an array of industries and a slew of countries, and these import taxes — which, generally speaking, fall on the American companies doing the importing — have made business operations difficult. Notably, even prominent Trump ally Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) asked Biden to address the damaging tariffs.
The letter — which, besides Johnson, includes Republican Senators Joni Ernst (Iowa), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Pat Toomey (Pa.), Thom Tillis (N.C.), Mike Lee (Utah), and Deb Fischer (Neb.) as signatories — insists that it “is simply wrong that so many businesses have suffered so that a few businesses may benefit.” Addressing Biden, the letter adds as follows:
‘It is necessary for your administration to evaluate the tariff experiences of the last three years and determine the policies that have worked and those that have not. As you have stated, the trade war has been damaging and disastrous to many U.S. businesses. We agree that the federal government must stop those actions that are damaging immediately. We also agree with your Administration’s strategy that seeks to work more closely with allies. We believe this must be the centerpiece of any successful efforts to build relationships and ultimately, to hold China accountable for human rights and trade abuses. An important first step would be to reduce the barriers to trade with our allies.’
The letter specifically highlights problems that businesses have faced due to the Trump administration’s tariffs. Referencing their request for a reduction in trade barriers like those tariffs, the Senators added as follows:
‘By doing so, we can stop damaging actions and retaliation and mend relationships while listening to the businesses across the country that have suffered from the negative economic consequences. We urge the Administration to listen to the many stories of these businesses and end the self-inflicted harm from the trade war.’
Trump frequently misrepresented the basic functioning of those tariffs. He claimed that the money brought in under the tariffs was coming from China and the other countries whose goods were targeted, but that assertion wasn’t accurate. Generally speaking, U.S. firms bore the cost of the tariffs.