Republican senator puts forward bill to quash Trump's new tariffs

Sen. Jeff Flake R-Ariz. leaves a meeting with a bipartisan group of senators Monday Jan. 22 2018 on Day Three of the government shutdown on Capitol Hill in Washington

Jacquelyn Martin AP Senator Jeff Flake

Flake, who is retiring this year from the Senate, has been frequent critic of Trump, fueling speculation that Flake himself may be the one to enter a primary battle against the president in 2020.

Democratic US Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has traded barbs with President Donald Trump, said on Sunday she's "not afraid of tariffs", but stopped short of endorsing his decision to launch steep tariffs on steel and aluminum. "I understand that it's a challenge on the campaign trail, certainly", Flake said on Monday.

"I mean, it would be a tough go in a Republican primary".

Earlier in the interview, Todd had explained that Flake has planned trips to New Hampshire, pointing out that tends to raise questions that someone is thinking about making a presidential run.

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"As a Republican who believes in free trade, limited government, economic freedom, I couldn't be re-elected in my party right now", said Flake, he won his Senate seat in 2012 after serving six terms in the U.S. House. "The Republican Party is the Trump party right now. But that's not to say it will stay that way", Flake said. Those who have expressed admiration for free trade, for supply-side economics ought to support this bill as well. The president rolled out the tariffs Thursday, extending an initial exemption to Canada and Mexico while raising the possibility of exemptions for other countries that renegotiate their trade policies with the United States. But Democrats have struck a more measured tone, as many members of the party's progressive wing have always been critical of free trade agreements they believe harm USA workers.

"I don't blame my colleagues for just saying, 'Hey, you know, I'm just not going to comment anymore.' But I think it's our responsibility at least at some point when he goes so far to stand up and say, 'This is not normal. And so we need to trade".

Dan Nowicki is national political reporter for The Arizona Republic, part of the USA TODAY NETWORK.

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