By Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images.
Over the weekend, Donald Trump abruptly announced that that the tariffs he threatened to impose on Mexico would not go into effect, having used his singular dealmaking skills to strike an agreement in which our neighbors to the south would stop the flow of undocumented immigrants into the United States. Hours later, he was complaining about coverage of the deal by the “Fake and Corrupt news Media,” which didn’t hail his negotiating prowess but correctly noted that 1) many of the actions pledged by Mexico were reportedly agreed to months ago, and 2) Mexico refused to give Trump the thing he really wanted, a “safe third country” treaty that would have allowed the U.S. to reject asylum-seekers if they hadn’t sought refugee status in Mexico first. That suggested that the tariffs—which would have had a catastrophic effect on both countries—were not, in fact, instrumental in getting Mexico to accede to the White House’s demands, but rather the ravings of a delusional man who was somehow convinced at the eleventh hour to call them off and just claim victory anyway, reality be damned. Which, of course, he did, only to be contradicted by Mexico before doubling down on the whole thing once again:
Yes, that’s the president of the United States waving around what he insists contains a secret agreement with Mexico that nobody knows about, after he was called out by the media for trying to claim his tariffs had resulted in totally new, hard-won concessions from Mexico. “So right here is the agreement,” he told reporters Tuesday, one day after Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s foreign minister, publicly denied said secret agreement existed. “It’s very simple. It’s right here. And in here is everything you want to talk about. Done. It’s done. It’s all done.” Naturally, he refused to unfold the paper and show the group assembled what it actually said.
Also on Tuesday, Trump told the press that farmers totally have his back in 2020, despite his actions on trade destroying their livelihoods and requiring multiple, multi-billion-dollar bailouts. “The best thing that ever happened to the farmers is me,” Trump said before departing for Iowa. “The farmers are my best friends.”
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