“The reality is auto tariffs would put Ohio into a recession,” said Dan Ujczo, a Columbus-based international trade lawyer who has been closely studying the impact of recent trade actions on Ohio companies.

Ultimately, that could jeopardize Trump’s support in the Mahoning Valley and other blue-collar Great Lakes regions that voted for him in 2016.

“He’ll lose those the second he puts auto tariffs on,” Ujczo said. “These people understand you can’t cut off your nose to spite your face.” According to a Morning Consult tracking poll, Trump’s approval rating in Ohio has fallen 19 percentage points since January 2017.