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Reaction to Trump's steel tariffs blurs party lines in Minnesota, Wisconsin

President Donald Trump participates in a meeting with leaders from the steel and aluminum industries Thursday at the White House in Washington. (Win McNamee/Getty Images/TNS)

The reaction to President Donald Trump’s plans to impose new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum has blurred party lines, with some Democrats supporting the Republican president and some Republicans offering criticism.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, said Friday that Trump should reconsider the tariffs, noting that the U.S. doesn’t have the capacity to produce the amount of ultra-thin aluminum needed by its own manufacturers.

“Ironically, American companies who will feel the negative impact of the tariffs can actually move their operations to another country, such as Canada, and not face new tariffs on the sale of their products. This scenario would lead to the exact opposite outcome of the administration's stated objective, which is to protect American jobs,” Walker said.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, DFL-Crosby, defended Trump’s plan.

“The president is taking a lot of heat, but nonetheless, his decision with respect to these tariffs is the right one,” Nolan said in a statement, noting that other, narrower tariffs imposed on foreign steel in recent years did not spark trade wars.

Among the reasons for his support of the broader tariffs, Nolan said that China and some other major steel-manufacturing nations “have stepped up their illegal steel dumping into the U.S. marketplace — often through third-party nations employed to disguise the real source — further undermining our iron ore and steel industries. ... These new tariffs, which the president has applied to all nations, should help put a stop to the flood of illegal steel.”