During a C-Span news conference on Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned that President Donald Trump was treating Mexico “as an enemy” regarding his plans to impose a 5 percent tariff on the country over illegal immigration concerns.
Pelosi’s primary message charged Trump with using the tariff situation in a politically tactical manner to distract voters from focusing on the conclusion of Robert Mueller’s investigation, according to The Hill.
“I don’t even think it rises to the level of policy. I think it’s notion-mongering — again,” Pelosi said. “And it’s really, well, let’s face what it is: It’s a distraction from the Mueller report. And it served its purpose, right? Here we are, here we are.”
“We were going to have this meeting and then the news came that the president had this notion that he was going to treat Mexico as an enemy,” Pelosi told reporters.
She was referring to a Tuesday meeting she was in with Mexican leadership on NAFTA negotiations.
She then admitted that she didn’t know if the president wanted to halt the negotiations to overhaul NAFTA or not.
The threat of new tariffs on the United States’ largest trading partner first emerged in late May when Trump said he’d use the economic punishment if Mexico didn’t immediately act to control the flow of migrants from Central American countries. Reportedly, the migrants often end up seeking asylum in the U.S. and purportedly illegally cross the border in overwhelming numbers.
The president doubled down on his threat, claiming the tariff’s could skyrocket to 25 percent if Mexican officials didn’t act, though specific methods to correct the situation in an acceptable manner to the Trump administration haven’t been made clear.
The Hill noted that a number of Republicans in the Senate are opposed to the tariffs and want the Trump administration to abort the process before they take hold.
Republican Sen. Ron Johnson told reporters Wednesday that he and his colleagues aren’t fans of taking the tariff route.
“Listen, Republicans don’t like taxes on American consumers, what tariffs are,” Johnson said.
— The Hill (@thehill) June 5, 2019
Vox argues that tariffs tend to have the greatest impact on lower-income Americans, who pay the same price for goods as wealthier people. They called Trump’s tariff’s a “regressive tax on his own people.”
Pelosi’s charge that Trump is treating Mexico like an enemy comes on the same day Mexican officials met with Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the White House in a last-ditch effort to avoid the tariff situation, as reported by The Inquisitr.
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard was reportedly there to convince Pence and other U.S. officials that his country has already taken steps to control the immigration situation and increased the detention of migrants within Mexico.