- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 2, 2019

President Trump, attempting to explain planned tariffs, accused Mexico Sunday of being a longtime “abuser” of the U.S. that could easily prevent the flow of illegal migrants, traffickers and drugs to the southern border.

“People have been saying for years that we should talk to Mexico. The problem is that Mexico is an ‘abuser’ of the United States, taking but never giving. It has been this way for decades,” Mr. Trump said on Twitter.

The president surprised members of Congress and North American economy last week by threatening to impose tariffs on Mexican imports until its government cracks down.

The first 5% tariff will hit on June 10, covering every import from Mexico. The rate will ratchet up to 10% in July and grow 5% more each month until it reaches 25%, the president said.

Some Republican allies said the White House plan is a misuse of tariff authority, while others feared an increase in the cost of avocados, Mexican beer and other goods, since the cost of tariffs are often passed to American consumers.

Auto makers are particularly worried, citing the impact on costs along their supply chain.

Mexico dispatched a delegation to Washington to talk about the issue.

Sen. John N. Kennedy, Louisiana Republican, said he doesn’t think Mr. Trump will actually go through with the tariffs, saying the president is a tough, yet smart, negotiator.

“I wouldn’t call him risk-adverse — he’s been known to play with fire, but not live hand grenades,” Mr. Kennedy told CBS’s Face the Nation, saying the tariffs could tank the economy. “I think the president knows that and I don’t think he’ll do it.”

For now, the president shows no signs of backing down, saying companies who aren’t happy about the tariffs can avoid them by keeping their operations within the U.S.

Either Mexico stops the “invasion” of migrants, cartels and traffickers, “which they can do very easily,” the president said, “or our many companies and jobs that have been foolishly allowed to move South of the Border, will be brought back into the United States through taxation (Tariffs).”

“America has had enough!” he added.

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