Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says he was surprised when President Donald Trump announced plans to impose new tariffs on imported aluminum and steel, saying up until last week he thought “we were in a good place.”
Walker on Tuesday urged Trump to back off on the tariffs, visiting a plastics manufacturer and food distributor the governor says would be hurt under Trump’s plan.
Walker said he had been talking with Trump’s Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross since last summer about how tariffs would hurt Wisconsin. Walker said he is scheduled to talk again with Ross on Wednesday, and possibly also Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
Walker said if Trump won’t back off the tariffs in total, he hopes the president will make an exception for tinplate steel and ultra-thin aluminum. Those are used by Bemis Industrial Products and Seneca Foods, the two businesses he visited Tuesday in Oshkosh and Janesville.
Seneca Foods is a food processor and distributor with nine plants in the state.
The Janesville location is in the congressional district of House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has joined with other congressional Republicans in saying the tariffs could lead to a trade war.
Walker has been outspoken against Trump’s idea, saying it would likely raise steel and aluminum prices in the United States and hurt Wisconsin manufacturers.