One day after Mexican president Peña Nieto cancelled a meeting with Donald Trump, the pair had a “Fence-Mending Phone Conversation”.
In their respective statements, the White House and the Mexican president’s office said the two heads of state had a “constructive” and “productive” conversation that touched on the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico, the importance of the friendship between the two nations, and the need to cooperate to halt the traffic of illegal drugs and weapons.
The Mexican government’s statement also said: “The presidents also agreed for now not to talk publicly about this controversial issue.”
White House officials did not respond to requests to clarify whether Mr. Trump indeed agreed not to speak publicly about Mexico possibly paying for the wall.
Such a commitment from Mr. Trump would be remarkable for the outspoken president, given that his promise to build a wall, and have Mexico pay for it, was a signature fixture of his campaign for the White House and has dominated the first days of his presidency.
If you agree not to talk about a problem, does the problem go away?
Trump the Terminator
Here’s an interesting set of comments from the Financial Times article Trump and Peña Nieto in ‘Very Friendly’ Phone Call.
Carlos Slim, the telecoms magnate who is Mexico’s richest man, on Friday called a news conference where he slammed the idea of slapping tariffs on Mexican imports, saying the cost would be borne by consumers and importers. While it was fair for the US to want to focus on certain manufacturing processes, such as high value-added goods, “to think you can return to the glorious past of the American industry . . . no longer works,” he said.
“Closing the economy is a serious risk for the US because it will make goods more expensive for American consumers and brake the development of companies and not allow them to be competitive on the world stage.”
He added: “[Mr Trump[ goes into the ring and says very clearly how he’s going to negotiate — if you’re weak, he’ll flatten you and if you’re strong, he’ll negotiate…..Trump isn’t terminator, he’s negotiator.”
Change in 20% Tax Idea
Following uproar a 20% tax on Mexican imports to pay for the wall, Trump is Considering Other Options.
The White House on Thursday said President Donald Trump is considering a 20% tax on imports from Mexico to pay for a southern border wall, but that the President is still weighing other options.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on Air Force One Thursday that Trump was backing the proposal and had just discussed it with congressional Republicans in a private meeting.
Hours later, amid an uproar from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, Spicer said that he was simply putting forward one idea Trump is considering to show how the administration could fund the multibillion-dollar construction of a wall on the US’s southern border. Spicer repeatedly said the White House was aiming to be “illustrative” rather than “prescriptive” as he walked back the more definitive comments he made earlier Thursday.
Following Trump will be fun for writers. One never knows what’s coming.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock