Sen. Ben Sasse says Trump's steel, aluminum tariffs "will kill American jobs"

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska, is hoping President Trump "walks back from the brink" as he is poised to sign off on his proposed steel and aluminum tariffs he announced just one week ago. Sasse, an outspoken critic of the president's plan, told "CBS This Morning" that the policy will ultimately "kill American jobs."

"If the president goes through with this, it will kill American jobs, there will be retaliation and specific American families and producers and workers are going to lose," Sasse said.

He added, "Right now we don't have a very clear understanding in the country about what's happening in our economy, these tariffs are a terrible idea but they're not just a terrible idea this week or this month, they don't make sense for where we are in economic history, tariffs always hurt us."

As for the president's persistent claims that trade wars "aren't so bad" and are easy to win, Sasse said "ultimately, nobody ever wins a trade war."

"Both sides lose a trade war, trade is indisputably good for America, it's good for consumers on both sides of every trading relationship and all of our trade deals have been net good for America in terms of job creation and a lot of the public needs to understand that," Sasse said. 

Sasse called the proposal "stupid policy" and said it highlights the mixed messages coming out of the embattled Trump White House.

"There's a big fight happening inside the administration right now because most senior people in the White House know this is a really dumb policy and the American people, the forgotten workers of even the Rust Belt states, they don't want to be ... causalities in a stupid trade war," said Sasse.

He added, "there's a bunch of people inside the administration trying to talk the president out of this."

  • Emily Tillett

    Emily Tillett is a politics reporter and video editor for CBS News Digital