Sen. Ron Johnson: Trump Used Tariff Threat "Brilliantly" To Get Leverage With Mexico

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Republican Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson told this week's edition of "FOX News Sunday" that President Trump "brilliantly" used the threat of tariffs to bring Mexico to the table in negotiations about halting the flow of illegal migrants from Central America.

"In general, Republicans understand that tariffs are attacks on American consumers and we don't want to see them in place long-term, nor do I believe President Trump does either," Johnson said. " He's using tariffs as leverage in trade negotiations and I think he used them as leverage in the situation brilliantly, quite honestly."





BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS: Here is the president talking about Republican senators pushing back.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A lot of people, senators included, they have no idea what they're talking about when it comes to tariffs. They have no -- absolutely no idea. When you have the money, when you have the product, you have the thing that everybody wants, you're in a position to do very well with tariffs and that's where we are. We’re the piggy bank. The United States is the piggy bank, it has all the money that others want to take from us, but they’re not taking it so easy anymore. It's a lot different.

BAIER: So, what was the behind the scenes?

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): I think, just in general, Republicans understand that tariffs are attacks on American consumers and we don't want to see them in place long-term, nor do I believe President Trump does either. He's using tariffs as leverage in trade negotiations and I think he used them as leverage in the situation brilliantly, quite honestly.

I know for my part, after those news reports were published last week, I called the Mexican ambassador and said regardless of what you read in the press, understand if the president imposes tariffs and he’s been serious about this, there are not votes to override. So, take that threat very seriously. You know you have to do more.

This is an uncontrolled situation of the board. I think the acting secretary is doing excellent job. I agree with everything he said an interview, but this is completely out of control. We’ve had groups of the thousand migrants just in El Paso sector alone. I was in McAllen, Texas, their biggest day is 2,400.

And, Brett, one thing that’s not being talked about enough is the involuntary servitude associated with this, the human trafficking. It's out of control. When we were down at the border just last week, 25 to 33 percent of these families are fraudulent families. It's an adult using a child, sometimes these are prearranged, but there was one little 3-year-old boy we were told about abandoned in a hot Texas field. That's a dimension that really we are talking about enough in terms of this problem.

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