I believe Mexico is figured out @realDonaldTrump and they just lied to our president, and said “we’re going to step up this & we’re gonna step up doing that” and everything that they will put in writing will be useless guarantee!!! #ImpeachTrumpNow
— Arick West 🏳️🌈💻🇺🇸 (@arickwest) June 8, 2019
WASHINGTON — For nine days, he had his finger on the trigger and threatened to pull. For nine days, he put two countries, entire multinational industries, vast swaths of consumers and workers and even his own advisers and Republican allies on edge, unsure what would happen with billions of dollars at stake.
And then almost as abruptly as it started, it was over. President Trump announced that he was calling off the crippling new tariffs he had vowed to impose on Mexico barely 48 hours before they were to go into effect because he had struck a last-minute immigration agreement — one that mainly just reaffirmed prior agreements.
Nine days in spring offered a case study in Mr. Trump’s approach to some of the most daunting issues confronting him and the nation: When the goal seems frustratingly out of reach through traditional means, threaten drastic action, set a deadline, demand concessions, cut a deal — real or imagined — avert the dire outcome and declare victory. If nothing else, he forces attention on the issue at hand. Whether the approach yields sustainable results seem less certain.
These are often dramas of his own making, with him naturally the hero. He stakes out maximalist positions and issues brutal ultimatums to compel action, arguing that extreme problems demand extreme tactics. At times, though, it can seem like little more than smoke and mirrors substituting for serious policymaking, a way of pretending to make progress without actually solving the underlying problem.
“This is a pattern we’ve seen since the first days of this administration,” said Ned Price, a former C.I.A. official who worked on President Barack Obama’s National Security Council staff and is now director of policy at National Security Action, a progressive foreign policy advocacy organization.
“The president manufactures a crisis, galvanizes his base around the challenge, leaves the definition of success undefined, pretends to play hardball and, lo and behold, finds a solution that entails little more than window-dressing, if that,” Mr. Price said. “For Trump, it’s a win-win.” But “the loser tends to be the American people, oftentimes Trump’s base first and foremost,” he added.
This same script played out just two months ago. Mr. Trump loudly threatened to close the border with Mexico altogether unless it did more to stop illegal immigration. Mexico promised action. Mr. Trump dropped the threat. But then the flow of migrants only increased, prompting Mr. Trump to issue a new threat on May 30 this time to impose escalating tariffs that would have started on Monday.
This threat shook up Mexico enough that its foreign minister rushed to Washington to again promise to do more. Under the deal announced this past Friday night, Mexico agreed to deploy its recently formed national guard throughout the country to stop migrants from reaching the United States and to expand a program making some migrants wait in Mexico while their asylum claims are heard in the United States. Finish here: A Drama of Trump’s Own Making Ends With a Familiar Hero