McConnell on Mexico tariffs: Give the guy credit. It worked


This is such a bone of contention in the liberal media right now that everyone seems to be unable to let go of it. The question of the day/week is whether or not President Trump actually chalked up a win in his negotiations with Mexico over immigration and tariffs. Cocaine Mitch was on Hugh Hewitt’s show this morning and was asked to deal with the same subject. The Senate Majority Leader had been critical of the tariffs all through the negotiations, but now that all is said and done he’s giving credit where due. Hey… the President turned out to be right. (Politico)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell eased up on his criticism of President Donald Trump’s threat to impose steep tariffs on imported goods from Mexico, saying Tuesday the president deserved applause for the way his brinkmanship worked out.

McConnell’s shift in tone comes as there remains an air of mystery surrounding the deal’s specifics and whether concessions made by Mexico were significant or came to fruition solely because of the tariff threat.

“They just can’t let the president have a win,” McConnell said in an interview on conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt’s show.

At almost the same time that McConnell was talking to Hugh, I was on a conservative talk radio show out of Chicago being asked the exact same thing. What is first notable is that nearly all of the coverage you see on CNN or MSNBC and in the Washington Post and the New York Times consists of variations on the same theme. You can break the criticism down into three grabs at the brass ring.

1. Avoiding the tariffs is not a “win” because it was just Trump avoiding a crisis that he created himself.
2. Getting Mexico to agree to the tougher immigration enforcement is not a “win” because they’d agreed to most of it months ago.
3. It’s not even a “deal” because Trump could go back on his word at any time and impose the tariffs anyway.

Allow me to answer these in order as I did on the show this morning.

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1. It’s called a negotiating tactic. Was it effective? Well, Mexico did what Trump wanted.
2. Mexico had said they agreed a while ago, but they weren’t doing anything. On Thursday, right after Trump announced the deadline, they sent thousands of troops to the border, arrested hundreds of migrants and took other steps. Trump was looking for action, not words.
3. Mexico can still reverse course on border enforcement at any time also. That’s why Trump is keeping the tariffs in his back pocket.

Mitch McConnell realizes all this. If Mexico had failed to act and the tariffs began to pile up, he’d at least be on record as being against them. But instead, we got what we wanted and he’s giving a nod to that reality.

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