President Donald Trump has set his sights on foreign automakers and auto parts for another round of potential tariffs. As part of Trump’s ongoing trade war, he cites national security threats for considering the tariffs. During a committee hearing this week in Washington, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, says she’s baffled by the Republican President’s reason.

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill speaks to reporters at Missouri Farm Bureau headquarters in Jefferson City on August 10, 2018 (file photo from Jason Taylor)

“It’s a real head scratcher that this administration is doing this under 232 – national security. It seems to me that this is a stretch on national security,” she says.

McCaskill says the tariffs could backfire on Missouri because auto manufacturing plays a critical role here.

“We are a major auto hub in Missouri. We have over 10,000 members of UAW employed at General Motors, Ford and Toyota. We are the birthplace of the Ford- 150, which we are very proud of, along with the Chevy Colorado and the GMC Canyon. 167,000 is the estimate of workers we have in Missouri associated with the manufacturing of automobiles—so it is a big deal to my state how we handle this,” says McCaskill. “So far, these tariffs are impacting farmers in my state, workers in my state, and consumers in my state—all negatively.”

Of the latest $200 billion in tariffs, McCaskill says the trade war has already cost Missouri jobs and hurt farmers and ranchers.

“I don’t understand why we’d dramatically escalate it,” she says.

McCaskill has sent a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce relaying concerns that Missouri manufacturing and agriculture leaders raised during a roundtable she held this month in St. Louis.

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