This weekend, Donald Trump bragged about reaching an immigration deal with Mexico that brought an end to the standoff he created, one that included threats of new tariffs imposed on America’s neighbor to the south.
But as critics quickly pointed out, the deal that Trump bragged about crafting this weekend had actually been in place for months, leading to accusations that Trump caved in yet another negotiation and avoided a crisis that was self-imposed. Trump had been demanding that Mexico do more to stem the flow of undocumented immigrants through its country and to the U.S. border, threatening to impose new tariffs if they did not comply. On Saturday, Trump said they reached a deal.
“Everyone very excited about the new deal with Mexico!” Trump wrote on Twitter, adding, “Mexico will try very hard, and if they do that, this will be a very successful agreement for both the United States and Mexico!”
But as many quickly pointed out, the deal had actually been put in place months ago, when the Mexican government agreed in March to deploy its National Guard while expanding a program to keep some asylum seekers in Mexico while their cases are heard. Trump then went on to brag that Mexico agreed to begin buying large quantities of agricultural products from American farmers; a claim that Mexican officials denied to Bloomberg.
Many Democrats quickly jumped on Trump for appearing to manufacture the crisis and then declare victory despite getting no new concessions from Mexico. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Trump’s behavior a “temper tantrum” and pointed out that asylum seekers have a legal right to enter the United States while seeking asylum.
“We are deeply disappointed by the Administration’s expansion of its failed Remain-in-Mexico policy, which violates the rights of asylum seekers under U.S. law and fails to address the root causes of Central American migration,” Pelosi said in a statement, via Time. “Threats and temper tantrums are no way to negotiate foreign policy.”
Other critics compared the flap with Mexico to the government shutdown that stretched from the end of 2018 to the beginning of this year, saying that both were crises of Trump’s own making. Brendan Nyhan, a public policy professor at the University of Michigan, said in a recent post on Medium that Trump’s “signature move” is to “act as both arsonist and firefighter,” taking credit for preventing calamities that he himself created in the first place.