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Finally, Trump does something Republicans can't stomach

Dana Milbank on

WASHINGTON -- What would it take for Republicans to turn against Donald Trump?

Now, finally, we know.

For nearly three years, Republican lawmakers have stood with Trump, offering only isolated protest, through all manner of outrage. Disparaging Mexican immigrants. Videotaped boasts about sexually assaulting women. Alleging that his predecessor put a wiretap on him. Falsely claiming massive voter fraud. Racism directed at a federal judge. The firing of James B. Comey. Talk of women bleeding. A payoff to a porn actress over an alleged affair. A defense of white supremacists in Charlottesville. Support for Senate candidate Roy Moore despite allegations of child molestation. The guilty pleas of Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos and Rick Gates and the indictment of Paul Manafort. The botched travel ban and bungled repeal of Obamacare. Insulting Britain and other allies. Attacks on the FBI and judiciary and attempts to fire the attorney general. Talk of African "shithole" countries. Questions about his mental stability. The lethargic hurricane response in Puerto Rico. The stream of staff firings and resignations and personal and ethical scandals, most recently Tuesday's finding that Kellyanne Conway twice violated the Hatch Act.

Republican lawmakers were, by and large, OK with all that. But now Trump has at last gone too far. He has proposed tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum. And the Republican Party is in an all-out revolt.

House Speaker Paul Ryan fielded four questions at a news conference Tuesday morning and answered the same way four times: with a warning about the "unintended consequences" of Trump's proposed tariffs.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke Tuesday afternoon of "a high level of concern" and fear that "this could metastasize into a larger trade war."

The No. 2 Senate Republican, John Cornyn (Tex.), warned about "jeopardi-zing the economy."

Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah), usually a Trump cheerleader, warned that it would be a "real mistake."

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (Tex.) urged Trump to "weigh carefully" what he's doing.

Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) suggested a "scalpel not a sledgehammer."

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