- The Washington Times - Monday, June 10, 2019

President Trump defended Monday his use of tariffs on Mexico and China as a negotiating tactic, saying his threats to raise Mexican tariffs up to 25 percent if they didn’t address illegal migration got the U.S. “everything we wanted.”

“If we didn’t have tariffs, we wouldn’t have made a deal with Mexico. We got everything we wanted. And we’re going to be a great partner to Mexico now. Because now they respect us, they didn’t even respect us,” the president said in a surprise interview with CNBC’s “The Squawk Box.”

Mr. Trump announced Friday he would suspend his threat of a tariff, starting at 5 percent, after reaching an agreement with Mexico on border security.

The president dismissed as “nonsense” a New York Times report finding Mexico’s National Guard had agreed since March to help curtail migrants and did not bend due to the tariff threats.

“The New York Times wrote a story like I already made a deal, it was nonsense. We talked about it for months and months and months and they wouldn’t get there and we just said ‘hey look, if you don’t get there we’re just going to have to charge you hundreds of billions in taxes,’ and we would have been just fine,” he said.

The president then praised his China tariffs, adding “tariffs are a beautiful thing when you’re the piggy bank.”

“When you have all the money everyone is trying to get our money. China. And the China deal is going to work out. You know why? Because of tariffs. Because right now they are getting absolutely decimated by companies that are leaving China, going to other countries, including our own, because they don’t want to pay the tariffs,” he said. “China is going to make a deal because they have to make a deal.”

“I don’t want to put their companies out of business, I want China to do well, I don’t want them to do as well as us,” Mr. Trump said.

The president said Thursday he will decide whether to slap tariffs on an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese goods after the G20 summit later this month, signaling his threat remains an option if the two superpowers cannot seal a truce to their trade war.

— Carlo Muñoz contributed to this report.


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