On Thursday, Politico reported that GOP senators are increasingly nervous that President Donald Trump’s policies will cause an economic downturn — and hurt their own political prospects.
Of particular concern to Republicans is the trade war, which has cost the economy billions of dollars and has no clear objective or exit strategy.
“There’s no question that trade uncertainty is contributing to the slowdown,” Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) told Politico. “We’re in a very good place. The danger is: Where are we going to be a year from now if concerns about trade continue to be an irritant to growth?”
“The biggest risk to the economy is the whole trade situation,” said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI). “We stopped doing the regulatory burden, we have a fairer tax system … and the whole trade war has injected a huge dose of uncertainty and instability.”
One of the key problems is that the trade war is particularly hitting states where vulnerable Republicans are standing for re-election. In Maine, where Sen. Susan Collins is already more divisive than she has ever been, the trade war has decimated lobster sales. And in Iowa, Sen. Joni Ernst has to contend with the gigantic losses to farms as agricultural exports drop.
“Everyone acknowledges that the economy is good, but they are still uneasy about their own circumstances,” a Republican official working on Senate races told Politico. “I am nervous that people will lose their patience and want to start seeing results.”