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Trump continues to push for Mexico tariff

Mexican flag with headline reading Trump threatens tariffs on Mexican products.

As the days tick down to the tariff President Trump promised he’d impose on all Mexican imports, including fresh produce, political sides are being chosen.

For the most part, pro-business Republican senators have threatened to block the 5 percent tariff, which Trump said would start June 10.

Trump said he’d impose the tariff unless Mexican officials started to help stop the surge of illegal immigration across the U.S.-Mexican border. Mexican officials have been in Washington, DC, this week, meeting with Trump Administration officials.

The Wall Street Journal quoted a handful of Republican senators who opposed the tariffs, including majority leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, but it seems neither Florida senator is with the GOP move.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL, tweeted June 5, “I don’t generally like tariffs either. But what alternative do my GOP colleagues have to get #Mexico to secure its southern border”?

Fellow Florida Sen. Rick Scott wasn’t clear in an interview on Fox News whether he’d join the Senate Republicans who are pushing back against the tariffs. He tweeted June 4, “No one likes tariffs, but we must find a way to secure our border and for Mexico to be a better partner in this.”

A month ago, Trump’s Commerce Department ended the Mexican Tomato Suspension Agreement, which Florida’s congressional delegation has supported.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection released June 5 that it apprehended 144,000 people along the southern border in May, well above the April figure and higher than any previous month.

While the Journal quoted Sen. Ron Johnson, R-WI, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, saying Trump “ought to be concerned about another vote of disapproval,” he later said the pressure is starting to work on Mexican negotiators.

After Johnson met with the Mexican ambassador June 5, he told the Journal, “It looks like the leverage is working. I want to make sure that the Mexican ambassador realized that if the president decides to invoke tariffs, they’ll probably stay in place, so take that threat very seriously.”


Greg Johnson is Director of Media Development for Blue Book Services