WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump kept American business leaders, GOP lawmakers and Mexican negotiators on a knife’s edge for seven anxiety-filled days with his threat to…
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump kept American business leaders, GOP lawmakers and Mexican negotiators on a knife’s edge for seven anxiety-filled days with his threat to slap an escalating series of tariffs on all Mexican imports if the country didn’t address migrants coming to the southern border.
When Trump yanked back his economic ultimatum late Friday night, he seemed to walk away with a win-win: no new trade war with a major U. S. economic partner, and « strong measures » by Mexico to curb the flow of Central American migrants.
But critics say Trump avoided a political crisis of his own making – one that could have wreaked havoc on the U. S. economy and sparked a political revolt from within his own party. And it’s not clear how much the agreement with Mexico will really accomplish on illegal immigration, Trump’s signature issue.
« One of Donald Trump’s signature moves as president is to act as both arsonist and firefighter, taking credit for resolving pseudo-crises that he in fact initiated, » Brendan Nyhan, a public policy professor at the University of Michigan, wrote in a recent post on Medium.
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He noted that Trump’s threatened tariffs could have hurt his own re-election prospects in 2020, as U. S. companies and consumers absorbed increased costs of Mexican imports. The president, he said, had a strong incentive to « solve » the problem that began last week when Trump first tweeted his tariff threat.
Nyhan isn’t alone. While Republicans applauded the president and the deal, others argued he shouldn’t receive credit.
Ned Price, a spokesman for the National Security Council under President Barack Obama, tweeted that Trump is « so predictable » and follows a « simple recipe. »
Price said the president manufactures « a crisis on an issue of importance to the base, » then leaves « success undefined, » pretends « to play hardball in a way that rallies the base, » solves the manufactured crisis and then disguises « the status quo as a ‘huge success.

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