Trump slams ‘fake’ news reports, releases new details on trade deal with Mexico

June 9, 2019

President Donald Trump took to Twitter this weekend to slam media coverage of his new trade agreement with Mexico and share more details about the deal.

Trump called news reports on the agreement from outlets like CNN, The New York Times, and The Washington Post “fake” and “bad news” on Saturday before pushing back on their assertion that the deal had nothing to do with his recent threat of tariffs against America’s southern neighbor.

As part of the agreement, Mexico pledged to send 6,000 of its National Guard troops to its border with the U.S. and promised to keep more asylum seekers in Mexico while they await hearings. Trump said Mexico also agreed to buy more produce from U.S. farms.

Old news?

Officials from the Trump administration negotiated for 12 hours Friday with Marcelo Ebrard, the Mexican foreign minister, before coming to a deal both could accept. That deal, which Trump praised in a Friday tweet, resulted in the president rescinding his recent threat to slap new tariffs of up to 25% on Mexican imports.

An article in the New York Times quoted unnamed officials in the administration who criticized Trump’s threat of tariffs and argued that large portions of the deal were set in place as early as December 2018, months before Trump’s tariff threat. For his part, Trump responded to the Times‘ article with a tweet that read in part:

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.

In their report, CNN quoted the Times, but added that at least some Trump officials disagreed with the Times’ assessment of the situation. The TV network reported that an unnamed senior official argued that Trump’s recent tariff threat was indeed effective because it forced Mexico to agree to stricter terms and increase their efforts to slow immigration.

But according to Politico, “the agreement doesn’t require having Mexico declared a ‘safe third country,’ as the Trump administration had sought. Under such an agreement, Central American migrants would be required to seek asylum in Mexico if they pass through that country en route to the U.S,” Politico reported.

Still, the deal does increase the number of non-Mexican migrants who will be “forced to wait in Mexico until the resolution of their asylum cases.”

Reckless – or effective?

In another tweet, Trump said that as part of the agreement, Mexico will buy “large quantities of agricultural products” from the United States. This provision baffled Bloomberg and other media outlets, who said that they could not find any provisions of the agreement related to agricultural trade.

But Bloomberg admitted later in their report that the lack of tariffs will likely lead to an increase in Mexican purchases of American agricultural products, lending credence to Trump’s claim, even as the rest of the article maintains “that agricultural trade hadn’t been discussed” in meetings between Trump officials and Mexico.

Trump later clarified that “some things…not mentioned in yesterday[‘s] press release, one in particular, were agreed upon. That will be announced at the appropriate time,” he wrote before promising that tariffs could still be imposed if Mexico doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain. “There is now going to be great cooperation between Mexico & the USA, something that didn’t exist for decades.”

And it isn’t just the media attacking Trump. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) accused the president on Saturday of having “undermined America’s preeminent leadership role in the world by recklessly threatening to impose tariffs on our close friend and neighbor to the south.”

But is “reckless” the right word for an effective strategy that resulted in a revised trade agreement with Mexico that will benefit millions of Americans? Sounds more like a “victory” to me.

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Jen Krausz

Jen Krausz is a Conservative Institute staff writer. A lifelong member of the Republican Party, she has an English degree from a liberal arts college and has contributed to numerous publications including Newsmax.