Never a dull moment.
Donald Trump appeared somewhat haggard on Wednesday while speaking to reporters at the White House House about congressional demands for his tax returns, but he was back on offense Thursday both with regard to the Mueller report and the border.
The president wasn’t amused with a New York Times article which suggested that some members of Mueller’s team believe William Barr’s Justice Department might have misrepresented or otherwise mischaracterized the special counsel’s findings.
“The New York Times had no legitimate sources, which would be totally illegal, concerning the Mueller Report”, he fumed in a lunchtime tweet, before launching into the customary attacks on the press as follows:
In fact, they probably had no sources at all! They are a Fake News paper who have already been forced to apologize for their incorrect and very bad reporting on me!
As ever, the cadence is so childlike that it’s hard to believe it emanates from a grown man, let alone the President of the United States.
With that out of the way, Trump spoke to reporters ahead of his hotly-anticipated meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, who is of course in Washington for yet another round of trade talks which are widely expected to produce something akin to a semi-final agreement.
Long story short, Trump renewed threats to close the southern border, a threat which he pseudo-retracted just two days ago citing Mexico’s success at “apprehending” scheming migrants.
In a somewhat surprising move, Trump also threatened to slap Mexico with auto tariffs if they don’t “stop the drugs”.
Apparently, Mexico is now on the clock and has precisely one year to figure out how to cut off the flow of illicit substances into America. Here is Trump announcing what, if he’s serious, would be a pretty notable new policy turn:
Got that? Here it is again:
We’re gonna give ’em a one-year warning, and if the drugs don’t stop, we’re gonna put tariffs on Mexico, and in particular cars – the whole ballgame is cars. It’s the big ballgame.
And he wasn’t finished.
Trump also “explained” the difference between the courts in Mexico and those in the US (according to him, Mexico doesn’t have any courts), before suggesting that when it comes to illegal immigration, the whole problem can be summarized as follows: “Set a foot on the property, congratulations, go get Perry Mason to represent you.”
Needless to say, this is probably news to Mexico and likely to lawmakers. In all likelihood, it was news to Trump too, because chances are, he made it up on the fly.
This comes amid a worsening situation at the border where the administration’s policies have been blamed by some critics for creating a crisis where there was none.
Trump’s weekend threats to close the border were met with extreme consternation among lawmakers including Mitch McConnell, who warned that if Trump made good on his promise, it would be economically “catastrophic.”