“I'm just not a fan of broad-based, across the board tariffs, because I think you'll have a lot of unintended consequences. You'll have a lot of collateral damage, not just consumers but businesses,” Ryan said during a town hall meeting Thursday at Home Depot in Atlanta. “So my preference and my hope is, that at the end of the day, we can make this more targeted and surgical, so that we can focus on a legitimate problem - dumping and unfair trade practices, which are taking jobs, without having this kind of collateral damage.”
Congressional Republicans expressed widespread concern the move could disrupt the U.S. economy, with countless Republicans urging the president to reconsider his approach by creating exceptions for U.S. allies and trading partners, as he has done, for the time being, for Canada and Mexico.
“We’re on the verge of a painful and stupid trade war, and that’s bad," Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska, said.
“We should not go the route that the administration is proposing on tariffs,” Roskam, R-Ill., told ABC News. “Remember tariffs are taxes and they're taxes on American consumers. We want tariffs low and we want obviously make sure that we have opportunities to sell our products abroad. And there's ways to do that, and I think there's ways to appropriately negotiate that.”
In a letter to the president, more than 100 House Republicans expressed concerns that “broad tariffs could harm” America’s workers, manufacturers, and consumers.
“Because tariffs are taxes that make U.S. businesses less competitive and U.S. consumers poorer, any tariffs that are imposed should be designed to address specific distortions caused by unfair trade practices in a targeted way while minimizing negative consequences on American businesses and consumers,” the lawmakers wrote.
"Simply put: This is a tax hike on American manufacturers, workers and consumers," Hatch, R-Utah, said. "Slapping aluminum and steel imports with tariffs of this magnitude is misguided."
While the president does not have any vocal supporters within his own party, a handful of Democrats, Sens. Bob Casey, Sherrod Brown and Joe Manchin, have applauded the move.
"It’s past time to defend our interests, our security and our workers in the global economy and that is exactly what the President is proposing with these tariffs," Manchin, D-W. Va., stated.
"By standing up for steel jobs today, we’re also protecting American jobs up the supply chain from becoming the next victims of Chinese cheating," Brown, D-Ohio, said.
North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Meadows, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, urged the administration to shift course, expressing a preference for future bilateral trading deals.
“I'm probably more of one that if tariffs have to be implemented or used as a tool, look at it on a more tactical basis with finished goods,” Meadows told ABC News. “Really it's more of trying to make sure that any of our manufacturers or [agriculture] communities are not adversely impacted.”
Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker cautioned that if the tariffs go into place, “it will not only cause major disruption in the market and drive prices up, it will likely cause layoffs and plant closures with jobs and operations shifting to other countries.”
“Unfortunately, the practical application here of the tariff on steel and aluminum would lead to jobs being lost in Wisconsin and moved - not to other states - but to other countries,” Walker said.
The timing and substance of the proposal, first revealed by the president last week, caught most Republicans by surprise.
"The surprises of these ideas just is what gives a period of unsettled times for Congress," Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., said. "At this point, I wanna see some details."
“Usually we have more time to prep and think it through and get the policy lined up,” Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., agreed. “How you implement it that's the tricky one so we have to fine tune it a little bit.”