Donald Trump says he hopes Mexico can avoid tariffs by stopping migrants

President Donald Trump said Tuesday he still plans to hit Mexico with tariffs next week, though he expressed hope that its government can avoid that fate by stopping the flow of migrants into the USA.

A 5% tariff on goods from Mexico is scheduled to be imposed Monday. Trump said U.S. and Mexican officials will meet Wednesday to try to negotiate a plan to resolve the dispute.

"Millions of people are flowing through Mexico – that's unacceptable," Trump said during a joint news conference in London with United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May. Trump also discussed British political issues ranging from Brexit to criticism of his state visit.

"I think Mexico will step up," Trump said.

Regarding the meetings with Mexican officials, Trump said, “we are going to see if we can do something – but I think it's more likely that the tariffs go on.  And we'll probably be talking during the time that the tariffs are on and they're going to be paid.”

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard and other top officials are in Washington this week, lobbying the Trump administration against imposing the tariffs – saying it will weaken Mexico's ability to address the migration crisis. The Mexican delegation is scheduled to meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday.

Trump announced last week, via tweet, that he would slap a 5% tariff on all goods imported from Mexico, starting June 10. He said he would increase the tariff by 5 percentage points each month until "the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied," and the tariffs could reach 25% by Oct. 1.  

Trump's UK visit:President says Britain's exit from EU would be 'very good' for the country

Martha Barcena, Mexico’s ambassador to the United States, said Monday that her government has made sweeping efforts to stem the flow of migrants by cracking down on human smuggling and returning more than 80,000 migrants crossing through Mexico to their home countries.

Some Republicans objected to the threatened tariffs and talked about congressional action to block them. Trump downplayed that possibility, saying it would be "foolish" for Congress to interfere in the issue.

At the news conference in London, Trump waded into British politics, denouncing critical British politicians as "negative" forces and disputing the idea that his visit to London has drawn protests.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, her husband Philip, President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk through the Quadrangle of the Foreign Office for a joint press conference in central London, Tuesday, June 4, 2019.

Among Trump's comments:

  • He said London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn should not criticize an American president who could do so much for the British people. Khan and Corbyn objected to Trump's state visit, citing his criticism of refugees and his harsh attitude toward Western allies. Saying he did not know Corbyn, Trump was more critical of Khan. He said the London mayor has "done a poor job. ... He should be positive, not negative – he's a negative force."
  • He downplayed protests by thousands of people against Trump's trip. Claiming that he had seen few demonstrators since he landed in London on Monday, Trump said, "A lot of it is fake news, I hate to say it. ... It was a very, very small group." As he and May spoke, thousands of protesters gathered less than a mile away in Trafalgar Square. They chanted, "Say it loud! Say it clear! Donald Trump’s not welcome here!"
  • He praised Queen Elizabeth II as a "fantastic person – fantastic woman." He again expressed support for British efforts to leave the European Union and talked about the race to replace May, who is scheduled to step down as prime minister this week.
  • As he did during a pre-trip interview, Trump said former British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson would make a good prime minister. Trump also had nice things to say about another official seeking the prime minister's job, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Trump said he did not know the other candidates.

Trump and May promoted the idea of a new free trade agreement with the United Kingdom when it is no longer a member of the EU.

Trump's state visit came en route to a trip to France for the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the Normandy landings that led the invasion of Nazi-occupied France during World War II.

Trump and May paid tribute to the "special relationship" between the United States and the United Kingdom, even as she and the American president have argued over some issues.

May said she has taken an "open approach" with Trump when they disagreed, such as over the Iran nuclear deal.

"We can also differ sometimes on how to confront the challenges we face," she said.


President Donald Trump reviews an honor guard during a ceremonial welcome in the garden of Buckingham Palace in London, Monday, June 3, 2019 on the opening day of a three day state visit to Britain. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein) ORG XMIT: TH130

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