President Trump ripped into the New York Times after the newspaper questioned his new deal with Mexico to avoid the tariffs he threatened to impose in retaliation to illegal immigration.
On Friday, Trump announced an agreement between the U.S. and Mexico that “indefinitely suspended” tariffs that were scheduled to hit all imported Mexican goods on Monday. The “U.S.-Mexico Joint Declaration,” released by the State Department, outlined measures that would be taken up by Mexico to reduce the surge of immigrants on their way to the U.S., including the “deployment of its National Guard throughout Mexico, giving priority to its southern border.”
“But the Mexican government had already pledged to do that in March during secret talks in Miami between Kirstjen Nielsen, then the secretary of homeland security, and Olga Sanchez, the Mexican secretary of the interior,” the New York Times reported, pointing out that Mexico had already agreed to several other aspects of the deal months before Trump’s tariff threat.
Trump lashed out in response Sunday morning, calling the Times story “another false report.”
“We have been trying to get some of these Border Actions for a long time, as have other administrations, but were not able to get them, or get them in full, until our signed agreement with Mexico,” he tweeted. “For many years, Mexico was not being cooperative on the Border in things we had, or didn’t have, and now I have full confidence, especially after speaking to their President yesterday, that they will be very cooperative and want to get the job properly done.”
Trump noted that one newly agreed upon provision that was not mentioned in the announcement would be disclosed “at the appropriate time.”
The U.S.-Mexico deal also called for an expansion of the Migrant Protection Protocols across the entire southern border and allows asylum-seekers who enter the country illegally or without proper documentation to be returned to Mexico where they will wait to have their asylum claims adjudicated.
“But that arrangement was reached in December in a pair of painstakingly negotiated diplomatic notes that the two countries exchanged. Ms. Nielsen announced the Migrant Protection Protocols during a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee five days before Christmas,” according to the New York Times.
“There is now going to be great cooperation between Mexico & the USA, something that didn’t exist for decades,” Trump said in his Twitter thread. “However, if for some unknown reason there is not, we can always go back to our previous, very profitable, position of Tariffs - But I don’t believe that will be necessary.”
Beyond unnecessary, imposing tariffs on Mexico would likely be unpopular among Republicans, who were divided on Trump’s threats before the announced deal, concerned about higher costs for consumers and potential harm to U.S. farmers and businesses.
“I support nearly every one of President Trump’s immigration policies, but this is not one of them,” Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said last Thursday in response to the president’s tariff plan, which was scheduled to go into effect Monday before Trump announced the suspension.
“This is an historic night!” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., responded sarcastically to the U.S.-Mexico deal, using Trump’s words. “[President Trump] has announced that he has cut a deal to 'greatly reduce, or eliminate, Illegal Immigration coming from Mexico and into the United States.'”
“Now that that problem is solved,” Schumer said, “I'm sure we won't be hearing any more about it in the future."
In response to Trump’s blast, The New York Times said in statement on Twitter, “We are confident in our reporting, and as with so many other occasions, our stories stand up over time and the president's denials of them do not. Calling the press the enemy is undemocratic and dangerous.”
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