Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg penned an op-ed calling on Congress to take back its “trade-policy powers” a day after President Trump announced he was placing a 5 percent tariff on all Mexican imports.
The 77-year-old billionaire's op-ed, titled "Stop Trump on Trade," was published on Bloomberg.com Friday. In the article, Bloomberg called Trump’s recent tariff announcement on Mexican imports a “radical and disturbing development.”
“The administration plans to harm businesses north and south of the border, and to impose additional new taxes on U.S. consumers, not to remedy a real or imagined trade grievance but to force Mexico to curb migration to the U.S.,” the former mayor wrote.
Trump said Thursday the tariffs would go into effect on June 10 and is a way to put pressure on Mexico to do more to crack down on the surge of Central American migrants attempting to cross the U.S. border. He said the percentage would gradually increase — up to 25 percent — “until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied.”
Bloomberg cited Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who spoke out against the tariffs.
"Trade policy and border security are separate issues," Grassley said. "This is a misuse of presidential tariff authority and counter to congressional intent. Following through on this threat would seriously jeopardize passage of USMCA, a central campaign pledge of President Trump’s and what could be a big victory for the country."
The tariffs sent a message to America’s trading partners, including Canada and the European Union, that the U.S. was “wholly counterproductive," Bloomberg argued.
“What are other governments to make of such a claim? They’re bound to wonder why they should ever enter into good-faith commitments with such an erratic and unreliable administration,” Bloomberg wrote.
The Constitution puts Congress in charge of trade policy, but Bloomberg claimed the power is being “systematically abused” and called on Congress “to take it back.”
Bloomberg also slammed Republicans “who claim to stand for free trade” for not speaking up and called on them to “stop quivering and start legislating.”
He acknowledged the “problems at the border are real” but blamed the Trump administration for the issues.
“More than two years after taking office, Trump has failed to adapt to a change in immigration flows from single Mexican males seeking work to Central American families and unaccompanied minors seeking refuge,” Bloomberg wrote. “He has resorted to draconian methods that have only brought more misery to the most vulnerable while failing to remedy the situation.”
He also made a few suggestions on how to fix the problems at the border, including allocating more money on asylum and immigration court systems and providing more aid to countries battling gang-related crime, such as El Salvador and Honduras.
In his op-ed, he concluded by saying Trump fails to “understand that trade is a matter of mutual advantage." Instead, Bloomberg alleged Trump's actions have “threatened the global economic order that the U.S. designed and built.”
The former mayor said Trump’s trade remarks could “bring on an outright recession” and roil markets. He ended with his call to Congress to “curb this president’s ability to conduct a potentially ruinous trade policy.”
Earlier this month, the Trump administration imposed 25 percent tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports and is planning to tax the $300 billion in imports that have so far been spared.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.