Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) said that Republican senators have tried to make the political argument against tariffs but that it seemed to fall on deaf ears.
“I just think he believes that farmers are going to be with him because they think he’s doing the right thing,” Thune said. “And by and large, that’s true. But when you start losing the farm, that calculation starts to change a little bit.”
When Vice President Pence attended the Senate GOP lunch Tuesday, he got an earful from senators who complained about the political ramifications of Trump’s trade approach, said Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.).
“There’s a lot of feeling in farm country we’re being used as pawns in this whole business,” he said. “We will benefit tremendously if we get a good deal, so we’re hanging in there with the president. As opposed to hanging separately.”
Pence encouraged the senators to stick with Trump, who has publicly complained about a lack of unity in his party as he tries to negotiate trade agreements.