“America First is a fallacy” – Mexico’s president responds to Trump tariff threat
Robie de Guzman • June 1, 2019 • 3233
“America First is a fallacy,” Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told U.S. President Donald Trump in a letter on Thursday (May 30), responding to a White House announcement it was imposing a blanket 5% tariff on all goods from Mexico from June 10.
Lopez Obrador said he wanted to avoid confrontation with the United States and that ideals such as justice and universal brotherhood were more important than borders.
“President Trump: social problems are not resolved with taxes or coercive measures. How can you turn, from one day to the next, the country of fraternity with immigrants of the world into a ghetto, a closed space, where they are stigmatized, mistreated, persecuted, expelled, and cancel the right to justice of those who look to live free of misery through effort and work? The Statue of Liberty is not an empty symbol,” the letter read.
“With all respect, even though you have the sovereign right to say it, the slogan “America First” is a fallacy because even until the end of time, justice and universal fraternity will prevail above national borders,” Obrador said.
The Mexican president also ordered his foreign minister to travel to Washington on Friday (May 31).
Residents of Mexico City, meanwhile, expressed doubt that President Trump’s tariff threat would do anything to stem the flow of mostly Central American migrants through Mexico.
“It’s not going to work… it’s more of a social issue than an economic issue,” said Paula Sousa.
“I think it’s dangerous for both countries because there is definitely a very strong commercial relationship between them. And I don’t think it’s something that’s convenient for either nation since Mexico needs U.S. industry, just like U.S. industry needs Mexican labor,” said Miguel Angel Sanchez.
Earlier the same day, Mexico’s foreign ministry delivered the text of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement to Mexico’s Senate for ratification. The President of Mexico’s Senate said the body would make the pact “a priority.” (REUTERS)
The U.S. House of Representatives approved a controversial Democratic police reform bill on Thursday (June 25), sending the measure to the Senate despite opposition from President Donald Trump and his Republican allies in Congress.
The Democratic-controlled House voted 236-181 roughly along party lines to adopt the legislation, one month to the day after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody sparked weeks of worldwide protests over police brutality, especially against African-Americans.
But the Democratic bill, which mandates concrete changes in law and policy to rein in police misconduct, is unlikely to be passed in its current form in the Republican-led Senate, where Democrats blocked a Republican reform measure on Wednesday. (Reuters)
President Donald Trump addressed a smaller-than-expected crowd with criticism of anti-racism protests on Saturday (June 20) at a rally meant to reinvigorate his re-election campaign amid U.S. racial unrest and a still-strong coronavirus pandemic.
The president, who revels in large crowds and had predicted his first rally in months would be epic, complained that the media had discouraged attendees from coming and cited bad behavior from protesters outside but did not specifically acknowledge the fact that many seats in the 19,000-seat BOK Center arena were empty.
Only a handful of attendees wore masks inside the arena.
Trump was seeking to bring momentum back to his campaign after coming under fire for his responses to the coronavirus and to the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in the custody of Minneapolis police.
He has brushed aside criticism for his decision to hold his first rally since March 2 in Tulsa, the site of the country’s bloodiest outbreaks of racist violence against Black Americans some 100 years ago.
Trump, who has encouraged a militaristic response to the demonstrations nationwide while taking criticism for not showing more empathy for the plight of Black Americans, criticized some of the protests.
“The unhinged left-wing mob is trying to vandalize our history, desecrate our monuments – our beautiful monuments – tear down our statues and punish, cancel and persecute anyone who does not conform to their demands for absolute and total control. We’re not conforming,” Trump said.
The Republican president is trailing the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, in polls ahead of the November election. Biden has hammered Trump for his response to the pandemic.
Trump defended his response, saying that more testing had led to identifying more cases, seemingly to his chagrin.
“When you do testing to that extent, you’re going to … find more cases,” he said. “So, I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down, please.'” (Reuters)
President Donald Trump on Thursday (June 18) renewed his threat to cut ties with China, a day after U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told Congress he did not see decoupling the U.S. and Chinese economies as a viable option.
“It was not Ambassador Lighthizer’s fault (yesterday in Committee) in that perhaps I didn’t make myself clear, but the U.S. certainly does maintain a policy option, under various conditions, of a complete decoupling from China,” Trump said on Twitter.
The world’s two largest economies have been at loggerheads over the handling of the coronavirus pandemic and China’s move to impose security legislation on Hong Kong, among multiple points of friction that have worsened this year.
Lighthizer, asked about U.S.-China ties during a hearing of the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday, said the issue of decoupling was “a complicated one.”
During a White House roundtable with governors on reopening the U.S. economy, Trump referred to China as “buying a lot” from the U.S. as part of the the Phase 1 China trade deal.
Trump used his cell phone briefly at the roundtable event around the time the tweet posted to his personal account.
The tweet comes as a new book from Trump’s former national security adviser, John Bolton, accuses the Republican president of sweeping misdeeds, including explicitly seeking Chinese President Xi Jinping’s aid to win re-election in November.
Among Bolton’s allegation was that Trump asked his Chinese counterpart, President Xi, for help in the 2020 U.S. election by making agricultural purchases from U.S. farmers. (Reuters)
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