Thomas Gallatin / Jun. 10, 2019

Bad Spin on Trump's Mexico Tariff Win

The president's tariff threat seemingly motivated Mexico to quit dragging its feet.

Following President Donald Trump’s weekend announcement that the U.S. and Mexico had reached an immigration deal averting his tariff threat, Democrats and the Leftmedia jumped to spin the narrative as little more than Trump engaging in political grandstanding. They couldn’t be more wrong.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi bloviated, “President Trump undermined America’s preeminent leadership role in the world by recklessly threatening to impose tariffs on our close friend and neighbor to the south. Threats and temper tantrums are no way to negotiate foreign policy.”

The New York Times sought to diminish Trump’s accomplishment by pointing out that much of the deal had been in the works for a while, and that Mexico had already agreed to several aspects of it months ago. The Times then speculated that Trump’s decision to accept the deal was actually “a face-saving way to escape from the political and economic consequences of imposing tariffs on Mexico.”

In fact, Trump was simply holding Mexico’s feet to the fire, getting our neighbors to quit dragging their feet on what they had agreed to months ago. Even by Trump’s own account, “We talked about it for months and months and months and they wouldn’t get there and we just said ‘hey look if you don’t get there we are just going to have to charge you hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes’…”

After a record 132,000 arrests of illegal aliens crossing the border in May, it was clear that Mexico was failing to honor its commitments to help stem the migrant flow. Trump’s tariff threat appears to have given Mexican officials the necessary kick in the pants to finally act.

On Monday, VP Mike Pence, who was at the negotiation table with Mexican leaders while Trump was in Europe, affirmed the outcome of those negotiations, including, “Most notable of all, Mexico has agreed to take back all of the people from Central America who have come into our country and applied for asylum – and have them remain in Mexico while we consider their asylum requests. … We would have no deal with Mexico, if the president had not announced 5% tariffs which were set to take affect today.”

The Joint Declaration between the two countries on Friday, read in part: “Mexico will take unprecedented steps to increase enforcement to curb irregular migration, to include the deployment of its National Guard throughout Mexico, giving priority to its southern border. Mexico is also taking decisive action to dismantle human smuggling and trafficking organizations as well as their illicit financial and transportation networks.”

The obvious problem with the Left’s spin is that Trump has not shied away from imposing tariffs. He followed through on his tariff threat against China and has only continued to raise them as he presses Beijing on decades of bad behavior. Clearly he was prepared to hit Mexico – and they knew it.

But there may be another reason Democrats and the Leftmedia aim to mitigate Trump’s victory here. The latest key issue polling indicates that a growing number of Americans view immigration as the most important problem facing the nation. Democrats and much of the mainstream media — who have long sought to downplay the border crisis — don’t want this becoming the major election issue in 2020, as it is a winning issue for Trump.

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