Republican Senator Says Trump Is Creating 'Soviet Type of Economy' After Tariffs Create $12 Billion Aid Package

Republican lawmakers were swift to criticize their party leader Tuesday after President Donald Trump unveiled a $12 billion emergency funding package for farmers impacted by his intensifying trade wars with China, Europe, Canada and Mexico.

Criticism from Republicans of the much-needed funding ranged from calling it "gold crutches" to "welfare for farmers" to taking America back to "1929 again." Even some farmers called the bailout a "pacifier" they would "rather not have."

Farmer Dave Kestel: "I understand they're trying to help us. I get that. But it's not a long-term fix. It's a pacifier so to speak." @adrianasdiaz: "Farmers are self-sustaining people. So is this government aid seen as a bailout that you'd rather not have?" Kestel: "Bingo." pic.twitter.com/5ZuK8Rmozu

— Norah O'Donnell 🇺🇸 (@NorahODonnell) July 25, 2018

One of the strongest rebukes came from Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, who told Politico Tuesday the aid assistance was "more like a Soviet type of economy."

"This is becoming more and more like a Soviet type of economy here: Commissars deciding who's going to be granted waivers, commissars in the administration figuring out how they're going to sprinkle around benefits," he said. "I'm very exasperated. This is serious."

Trump admin will spend $12 billion to assist farmers hurt by tariffs.@HallieJackson has the story. pic.twitter.com/cHVQZgvSaE

— NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBCNightlyNews) July 25, 2018

Johnson's fellow Republican Senator John Thune of South Dakota said there "isn't anything about this that anybody should like."

Thune added to Politico: "Taxpayers are going to be asked to initial checks to farmers in lieu of having a trade policy that actually opens and expands more markets."

Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska called the aid package "gold crutches" for a trade war that is "cutting the legs out from under farmers." He also told CBS News that farmers and ranchers want "less trade war," not "bailouts" and "welfare."

Sen @BenSasse: “This trade war is cutting the legs out from under farmers and White House’s ‘plan’ is to spend $12 billion on gold crutches.” pic.twitter.com/qzUpviCJWo

— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) July 24, 2018

Criticism arrived, too, from Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, a staunch defender of the president in recent weeks. "If tariffs punish farmers, the answer is not welfare for farmers—the answer is remove the tariffs," he said.

Tariffs are taxes that punish American consumers and producers. If tariffs punish farmers, the answer is not welfare for farmers — the answer is remove the tariffs.

— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) July 24, 2018

In June, economists estimated Trump's trade war with tariffs against major U.S. allies could cost the country 400,000 jobs.

Even prior to the aid package, Republicans had been critical of the tariffs. Outgoing Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee claimed they push "away our allies and further strengthens [Russian President Vladimir] Putin."

The dam is finally breaking. Thankfully.

As the president taxes Americans with tariffs, he pushes away our allies and further strengthens Putin.

It is time for Congress to step up and take back our authorities.

We have legislation to do that. Let’s vote.

— Senator Bob Corker (@SenBobCorker) July 17, 2018

Much of the president's core base and support comes from states with large farming industries. In the past, Trump said he would work to protect farmers, telling them at a January event they were "so lucky that I gave you that privilege" to vote for him.

Trump fired back Wednesday morning in a series of tweets, telling critics to "be cool" and labeled opponents of his tariffs against China as "weak."

Every time I see a weak politician asking to stop Trade talks or the use of Tariffs to counter unfair Tariffs, I wonder, what can they be thinking? Are we just going to continue and let our farmers and country get ripped off? Lost $817 Billion on Trade last year. No weakness!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2018

When you have people snipping at your heels during a negotiation, it will only take longer to make a deal, and the deal will never be as good as it could have been with unity. Negotiations are going really well, be cool. The end result will be worth it!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2018

The Trump administration's aid package will put money into three Department of Agriculture programs to help farmers better cope with the impact of the president's tariffs, which is dropping some crop prices and making other crops expensive to export. One program will provide direct monetary assistance, another will work to purchase and distribute food and a third will promote trade.

Despite the new struggles American farmers have faced since the tariffs were put in place in June, Trump continued to say Tuesday that tariffs "are the greatest," just hours before announcing the multi-billion-dollar aid package.

Tariffs are the greatest! Either a country which has treated the United States unfairly on Trade negotiates a fair deal, or it gets hit with Tariffs. It’s as simple as that - and everybody’s talking! Remember, we are the “piggy bank” that’s being robbed. All will be Great!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 24, 2018

Away from farming, Milwaukee-based motorcycle manufacturer Harley Davidson announced last month it would be moving some of its U.S. motorcycle production abroad due to high costs of the new European tariffs.

Trump's senior economic advisers now say he will likely impose a 25 percent tariff on foreign-made cars later this year, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.