The Slatest

Trump Doubles Down on Tariff Threats Against “Abuser” Mexico: “America Has Had Enough!”

President Donald Trump points as he addresses the 2019 graduation ceremony at the United States Air Force Academy May 30, 2019, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
President Donald Trump points as he addresses the 2019 graduation ceremony at the United States Air Force Academy May 30, 2019, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/Getty Images

President Donald Trump made clear early Sunday morning that he was not backing down from his threats of imposing tariffs against Mexican imports if the country does not step up the fight against migrants crossing the southern border into the United States. Although people have been calling for negotiations with Mexico that is not a real possibility, says Trump. “The problem is that Mexico is an ‘abuser’ of the United States, taking but never giving. It has been this way for decades,” Trump wrote.

The commander in chief then went to say that the choice Mexico now faces is simple. “Either they stop the invasion of our Country by Drug Dealers, Cartels, Human Traffickers, Coyotes and Illegal Immigrants, which they can do very easily, or our many companies and jobs that have been foolishly allowed to move South of the Border, will be brought back into the United States through taxation (Tariffs),” Trump added. “America has had enough!”

Trump’s tweets came days after he vowed to impose a 5 percent tariff on all goods imported from Mexico until the country did more to stop the flow of migrants from its border with the United States. The tariff, he warned, would gradually increase to 25 percent “until the illegal immigration problem is remedied.” The threat shocked Wall Street and even many Republicans as Mexico scrambled to try to figure out a way to get Trump to back down. On Saturday, Mexico’s president suggested his government would be willing to take action to prevent the threatened tariffs from being implemented. “The main thing is to inform about what we’re already doing on the migration issue, and if it’s necessary to reinforce these measures without violating human rights, we could be prepared to reach that deal,” Mexico’s President Manuel Lopez Obrador said.

Trump continued his string of migration-related tweets by blasting Democrats, insisting that they are “doing nothing on the Border,” The president went on to say that the issue “could be fixed so easily if they would vote with Republicans to fix the loopholes.” Later, he added that the wall on the southern border is “moving along quickly, despite all of the Radical Liberal Democrat lawsuits.” He also wondered: “What are they thinking as our Country is invaded by so many people (illegals) and things (Drugs) that we do not want. Make America Great Again!”

The latest threats against Mexico show how Trump sees immigration as key to his reelection bid even if he hasn’t made much progress on what has long been a signature issue. The Washington Post explains:

The wave of border policies flowing from the White House offers a clear signal that Trump’s reelection bid is likely to focus on immigration more than any other topic — a cause that animates his base but also highlights his failure to contain the flow of Central American migrants coming to the United States in record numbers.

“He certainly believes that immigration is a key issue that got him elected and, looking at the 2020 election, he’s trying to show that he’s trying to do something,” said Theresa Brown, a former policy official at the Department of Homeland Security who works at the Bipartisan Policy Center. “He knows that the situation that people are seeing every day shows that he’s not been successful. He has not secured the border.”

For a president who won an electoral college victory in 2016 based on a hard-line immigration message and a promise to make the Mexican government fund construction of a border wall, Trump’s latest gambit is an attempt to cover for the lack of progress on a signature campaign pledge, Brown said.