During a news conference in Atlanta on Thursday, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) was asked for his thoughts about news that President Trump's personal lawyer made a $130,000 hush payment just days before the 2016 election to an adult film actress who allegedly had an affair with Trump - a payment that the White House accidentally admitted on Wednesday the president was involved in. Ryan told Home Depot Inc. employees how they and their company will be helped by the tax cuts passed a year ago.
Republicans fear Trump's action risks distracting voters and disrupting the USA economy just months before the midterm election that will test his protectionist policies, populist rhetoric and chaotic approach to the presidency.
"I disagree with this action and fear its unintended consequences", Ryan said.
The president announced a 10 percent tax on imported aluminum and a 25 percent tax on imported steel, carving out exceptions for imports from Canada and Mexico.
The president has said the tariffs are needed to reinforce lagging American steel and aluminum industries and protect national security.
"Our factories were left to rot, and to rust all over the place".
USA trade policy has always been written with the intent to give the president broad authority to handle worldwide trade without Congress nitpicking the details. He has urged Republican lawmakers to stay focused on reminding voters about the tax cuts rather than White House policy surprises and scandals.
Even if there is an initial victory from a friendly court to stay Trump's tariffs, a case would face hard appeals, according to Mark Warner, a Toronto-based trade lawyer with MAAW Law who practices in the US and Canada.
"Unless the president reverses course, it will be American consumers, workers and families who will lose", Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California said.
"These so-called "flexible tariffs" are a marriage of two lethal poisons to economic growth - protectionism and uncertainty". He said he plans legislation that would nullify them.
They also could challenge the law itself, claiming Congress delegated to the president too much of its constitutional authority to regulate foreign trade when it passed Section 232, Bhala said, or try to identify defects in the process that Trump and his Commerce Department used in bringing the tariffs forward.
The White House, however, held out the possibility of exemption or delayed execution of the order for some countries, notably neighbours Canada and Mexico with which the U.S. has been engaged in talks aimed at a revamp of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that Trump has been insisting upon. "There may be people who lose less".