Nelson Tours Jacksonville’s Anheuser-Busch Brewery, Criticizes Trump Over Tariffs

Apr 2, 2018

Tariffs on aluminum will hurt beer drinkers — that’s according to U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), who took a tour of Anheuser-Busch’s Jacksonville brewery on Monday.

Citing a study by the business-friendly Tax Foundation, Nelson said the import taxes the Trump administration announced last month will get passed on to employees and consumers.

“This extra tariff, or tax, on steel and aluminum is going to cost 9 billion extra dollars for consumers in this country, and in Florida alone, it’s going to be a half-billion dollars,” he said. “That itself is not a good thing, but what it portends also is starting a trade war.”

Nelson, who’s up for re-election this year, made the stop Monday to join Anheuser-Busch leaders in condemning President Donald Trump’s tariffs: 25 percent on steel and 15 percent on aluminum — which the company imports to make cans in Jacksonville.

Nelson said the sudden import taxes, and retaliation by China with tariffs on 128 U.S. products, remind him of a dark time in America.

“A trade war ultimately runs into a recession, which is part of the reason [for] going into the Depression in the 1930s. So, you always have to worry about that. Remember the Smoot-Hawley Tax,” he said.

Many economists and historians blame those tariffs on more than 20,000 products for helping destabilize the global economy in 1930.

Nelson’s Jacksonville stop comes as Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott next week is expected to announce he’s challenging Nelson for his Senate seat.

Reporter Ryan Benk can be reached at rbenk@wjct.org, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter @RyanMichaelBenk