Republicans are freaking out that Trump's tariff frenzy will kill them at the polls in 2018 midterms
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky speaking at CPAC 2011 (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Republicans are worried that President Donald Trump's decision to wage a trade war against China may harm GOP efforts in the 2018 midterm elections, Politico reported on Saturday.


Congressional leadership and the White House came to agreement in January that the prevailing 2018 campaign message would focus on jobs, the economy and tax legislation.

That consensus was apparently shattered when Trump threatened China with tariffs, to which the Chinese responded in kind.

Former Trump economics advisor and fellow at The Heritage Foundation, Stephen Moore, worries about a trade war cancelling the administration's work on tax reform.

“If the tariffs raise prices on American consumers, then that will negate part of the positive impact of the tax cut," Moore worried. "It’s the government giving the tax cut with the right hand and taking it away with the tariff with the left one."

Michael Steel, a former top aide to former Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), shares Moore's worries.

“There is definitely a very real concern that the economic impacts on trade could overshadow the tremendous benefits of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” Steel acknowledged.

Others won't identify themselves in voicing concerns about the 2018 midterms.

"The evidence of the tax cut working is getting yanked away," one tax lobbyist worried. "Conservatives and business groups aren’t sure what to do about it because no one wants to be the target of a Trump tweet."

New White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow denied that a trade war would distract from Trump's tax cut message.

“I would never let anything overshadow the tax cut,” Kudlow said. “The president’s success will rise and fall with the economy."

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