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Washington Post, Salon Criticize Trump’s Tariff Threats, Denies Their Success

The Washington Post wrote Tuesday that Trump’s threats of tariffs on Mexico may have worked too well.

“A sense of relief among Republicans and business leaders after President Trump postponed his tariff threats against Mexico gave way Monday to growing unease over whether he had internalized the risks of his economic warfare – or was emboldened by the shutdown,” read the lead on David Nakamura’s piece, headlined, “‘Tariffs are the answer’: Trump appears emboldened after economic brinkmanship with Mexico.” [1]

It remains to be seen “whether Trump’s deal with Mexico will achieve his goal of stemming a surge of unauthorized immigration,” Nakamura wrote [1]. “But Trump’s takeaway from his gambit to tie tariff threats to a non-trade issue – a strategy that provoked an outcry from big business and a near-revolt among GOP lawmakers – was that the naysayers had been proved wrong.”

Salon did not grant that Trump a victory in forcing Mexico to commit 6,000 troops to its southern border and to intercept buses of migrants headed for the U.S. border. Rather, “Trump’s tariff tantrum,” as it wrote in the headline [2], amounted to just “another symptom of his massive ignorance.”

Trump’s “only two modes are sleep and bullying,” Marcotte wrote [2], and “even by his rock-bottom standards,” he hit “a new low over the weekend” when he “freaked out on Twitter, at length, because a few news outlets blew the whistle on his efforts to dupe the public, especially his Fox News-loving base, into believing his massive lies about tariffs and his negotiations with Mexico on immigration.”

Marcotte, parroting a story in the New York Times [3], contended many of the measures the Mexicans agreed to implement already had been agreed to but not implemented. Even if that were true, and it is not – the Mexicans were surprised and struggling to arrange the deployment of the troops and clearly had no intention to do so beforehand [4] – it would mark progress that Trump got the Mexicans to finally do what they agreed to do.

Politico contended [5] that Trump declined to levy the threatened tariffs – 5 percent this month, then 5 percent more every month the Mexicans did not implement the policies he requested – saying they last week “helped stop 5 percent levies from being slapped on Mexican goods.”

It wrote [5] that a “long-running dispute between Senate Republicans and the president came to a head last week when several Republicans predicted that the president could face jaw-dropping defections in the chamber on a vote to block any effort to impose tariffs on Mexico.”

This even though Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc) reached out to his counterparts in Mexico [6] to inform them the votes weren’t there to override the president if he decided to implement tariffs.

Republicans, Politico wrote [5], were largely satisfied with how things turned out. “Yet the blowback could only increase the next time the president brings them up,” it wrote [5]. “For one, any more significant delay could imperil the USMCA deal altogether.”

Marcotte did not see Trump reveling in victory but rather “furious because this entire incident illustrates that he is not the super-genius he imagines himself to be [2] – and is constantly told he is by enablers like [White House aide Stephen] Miller or his former adviser and white nationalist shill Steve Bannon.”