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Trump, Pelosi trade barbs on Mexico migration, USMCA deals

President Donald Trump’s plan to increase tariffs on Mexico was unpopular on both sides of the aisle and with the president’s own advisers. | Henry Nicholls – WPA Pool/Getty Images

President Donald Trump on Saturday blamed Democrats after a tumultuous week for trade and the broader USMCA deal negotiations following the president’s threat to impose tariffs on Mexico over migration at the U.S. southern border.

“Nervous Nancy Pelosi & the Democrat House are getting nothing done. Perhaps they could lead the way with the USMCA, the spectacular & very popular new Trade Deal that replaces NAFTA, the worst Trade Deal in the history of the U.S.A. Great for our Farmers, Manufacturers & Unions!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shot back in a statement criticizing the deal struck Friday evening between the U.S. and Mexico, under which Mexico said it would send 6,000 troops from its National Guard to the country’s southern border with Guatemala, a move aimed at cutting off the flow of migrants bound for the U.S.

“Threats and temper tantrums are no way to negotiate foreign policy,” the speaker said, also taking aim at the administration’s stance on Mexico holding asylum seekers on its own soil and its “failing to address the root causes of Central American migration.”

The speaker also said Trump “undermined America’s preeminent leadership role in the world by recklessly threatening to impose tariffs.”

Donald Trump

Pelosi has been reluctant to set a date to vote on the USMCA as Democrats say they want stronger enforcement of labor and environmental provisions in the trade deal.

Trump’s plan to increase tariffs incrementally on Mexico unless a series of undetermined immigration goals was accomplished was unpopular on both sides of the aisle and with the president’s own advisers. Both Republican and Democratic party leaders pushed back at the idea, fearing it would hurt economic growth while undermining the USMCA deal.

The plan would have imposed an initial 5 percent duty on $ 350 billion of imports from Mexico from Monday, with an increase of 5 percent every month until it reached 25 percent on October.

Trump shifted between blaming the Democratic Party and praising Mexican leaders in a series of seven tweets sent Saturday morning.

“I would like to thank the President of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, and his foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, together with all of the many representatives of both the United States and Mexico, for working so long and hard to get our agreement on immigration completed!” Trump wrote.

The Trump-Pelosi feud has been brewing all week. The speaker told senior Democrats on Tuesday that she wanted to see the president “in prison” amid clashes on impeachment proceedings. Trump responded by saying Pelosi’s statement was a “disgrace to herself and her family,” while overseas marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Pelosi also this week said the tariff threat was a “distraction from the Mueller report” as the House prepares to have testimonies next week on the special counsel’s report.

Following the series of Saturday tweets, the president traveled by motorcade to Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, according to pool reports.

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