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Tariff Temper Tantrum: Trump "Created a Fake Crisis & Has Announced a Fake Solution" with Mexico

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Facing an escalating showdown with Mexico and an insurrection from his own party, President Trump said Friday the United States had reached a deal with Mexico to avert a 5% tariff on all imported Mexican goods that was due to take effect today and increase to 25% by October. Trump's announcement came after three days of Mexico-U.S. negotiations in Washington. Officials said it was based around Mexico's commitment to deploy National Guard forces throughout the country, in particular to its southern border, in order to stem the flow of northbound migrants headed toward the US.

Under the deal, they said Mexico also agreed to expand what is known as the Remain in Mexico policy, which allows the U.S. to send back Central American asylum-seeking migrants to Mexico while their cases make their way through immigration courts. However, on Saturday, The New York Times reported that the plan to send troops to the border had already been agreed to in March. We speak with Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch and author of "The Rise and Fall of Fast Track Trade Authority."

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Facing an escalating showdown with Mexico and an insurrection from his own party, President Trump said Friday the United States reached a deal with Mexico to avert a 5% tariff on all imported Mexican goods that was due to take effect today and increase to 25% tariff, across the board on Mexican goods, by October. Trump's announcement came after three days of Mexico-U.S. negotiations in Washington. Officials said it was based around Mexico's commitment to deploy National Guard forces throughout Mexico, in particular to its southern border, in order to stem the flow of northbound migrants headed to the United States. Under the deal, they say Mexico also agreed to expand what is known as Remain in Mexico policy, which allows the U.S. to send back Central American asylum-seeking migrants to Mexico while their cases make their way through immigration courts in the United States.

However, on Saturday, The New York Times reported the plan to send troops to the border had already been agreed on in March. Trump lashed out on Twitter Monday morning by attacking The New York Times, writing, "The Failing @nytimes story on Mexico and Illegal Immigration through our Southern Border has now been proven shockingly false and untrue, bad reporting, and the paper is embarrassed by it. The only problem is that they knew it was Fake News before it went out. Corrupt Media!" he tweeted.

In a statement Saturday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, "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," she said.

Trump's plans also drew resistance from some Republican leaders, including Mitch McConnell, who threatened a congressional revolt.

Meanwhile, in Mexico, President Andre's Manuel López Obrador hailed the agreement at a rally with thousands of supporters Saturday. He said migrant rights will be protected.

PRESIDENT ANDRÉS MANUEL LÓPEZ OBRADOR: [translated] We have signed our commitment to contributing to migrants not crossing through national territory to reach the United States. We would never do this by violating the human rights of travelers. And that starts with human rights, the right to live free from misery, the right to life. ... It would be fair to try and punish Mexico to try and stop immigration, whilst there is a need for welfare and security in home countries for migrants and a search for brotherhood amongst peoples. We celebrate yesterday's important agreement because things were becoming very difficult, very uncomfortable.

AMY GOODMAN: To talk more about the deal and its implications, we go to Washington, D.C., to talk with Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, author of The Rise and Fall of Fast Track Trade Authority.

Lori, welcome back to Democracy Now!

LORI WALLACH: Good morning.

AMY GOODMAN: What happened over these last weeks, when President Trump threatened Mexico with across-the-board 5%, to be increased to 25%, tariffs on all Mexican goods? Republicans, led by the Senate majority leader, McConnell, said they would revolt. And then Trump said he forced -- essentially, he forced Mexico to its knees. Explain what happened.

LORI WALLACH: Trump created a fake crisis and has announced a fake "solution" that actually is terms that already the U.S. and Mexico had agreed months ago. Plus he announced something that I think just isn't -- can't happen, which is "large agricultural sales," except Mexico is a market economy. The government does not control what's sold. There also are no tariffs. So it's not like you can make a trade deal to increase agricultural sales. So, that part seems to be altogether made up.

But if you read the actual summary of the agreement between the two countries or you look at this weekend's tweets, the president is also simultaneously saying, "And if I don't get my way, we can put the tariffs back up." And so, he's basically, to quote Nancy Pelosi, having another "tariff temper tantrum," and he's sort of threatening that maybe the tariffs will come back.

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