The Note: Republicans reach breaking point on tariffs

Trump’s economic nationalism is colliding with the national economy.

It didn’t happen over Charlottesville, or any of the scandals, the insults, the attacks, the mistruths, or even over the payment to the porn star.

It’s the issue of tariffs that has driven Republican policy minds and elected officials to say in virtual unison to President Donald Trump: This isn’t right.

Trump’s economic nationalism is colliding with the realities of the national economy. It’s also a collision of style and substance for a president who said this week: “I like conflict.”

It sets up a test for the president, who is talking tough, yet also offering potential off-ramps for allies — with actual policies set to be released in the coming days. The bigger test, though, will be for Republican elected officials, if Trump stays committed to a policy course they think will be disastrous.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

The East Coast may be getting pummeled with snow, but political storms are brewing out West. As the Los Angeles Times put it yesterday: “Trump's immigration war with California has reached a fever pitch."

On the one hand, many California cities seem eager to protect their residents — documented or not — who are living peacefully in their communities. At the same time, the federal government continues to increase immigration raids and sweeps and is now suing the Golden State over the right to deport anyone the federal government chooses — and perhaps anyone without proper paperwork — without the state getting in the way.

Both sides seem suited up for this war, already donning their battle boots and armed with litigation. It is hard to think of any issue in recent American history that has pitted a state government and local law enforcement against federal agencies like this — at least not one that so directly and materially affected human lives. Both sides are battling for the final say in who can live where.

The TIP with Meridith McGraw, Devin Dwyer and Jordyn Phelps

The signing will take place at 3:30 p.m., according to the White House, and will include workers from the American steel and aluminum industry.

But the decision to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports has been met by criticism from leaders within Trump's own party. By one independent analysis, the move could result in an estimated net loss of 146,000 American jobs, even if more than 30,000 new steel and aluminum industry jobs are created in the first year under the tariffs.

More than a hundred Republican members of Congress on Wednesday signed a letter to Trump "expressing concern" over tariffs.

"We're urging the President to tailor these tariffs so American businesses can continue to trade fairly with our partners, sell American-made products to customers all over the world, and hire more workers here at home," wrote House Ways and Means Committee chairman Kevin Brady.

Trump's decision has also sparked deep divides inside the White House. National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn resigned amid internal administration debates over tariffs.


• President Trump signs his new tariff proclamation at 3:30 p.m.

• U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., hold a news conference at 10:30 a.m. to propose legislation that would prevent individuals in crisis from accessing weapons.



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The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.