President Donald Trump continues throwing metaphorical sticks of dynamite in global affairs. This week while overseas for a state visit to the United Kingdom, he faced scrutiny during a joint press conference with their Prime Minister Theresa May for the import tax plans he’s announced targeting Mexico over continued streams of asylum seekers arriving at the southern border. Despite the trade and immigration remaining quite unrelated, and the acute revenue from these taxes coming from the American pockets of interests trying to do business with Mexico, Trump seems undeterred, railing about how off the rails Mexico supposedly is like a racist who’d binged way too much Fox News lately.
Painting himself as some sort of white knight, he told Fox journalist John Roberts, who tried to uncover what Mexico would have to do to avoid the tariffs:
‘If they don’t step up and give us security for our nation — look, millions of people are flowing through Mexico. That’s unacceptable!.. I think Mexico will step up and do what they should have been doing. I don’t want to hear that Mexico is run by the cartels and the drug lords and the coyotes. I don’t want to hear about that. A lot of people are saying that. Mexico has something to prove. But I don’t want to hear they’re run by the cartels, you understand?.. Mexico should step up and stop this onslaught, this invasion into our country.’
Trump is grossly misrepresenting the situation to assert that “millions” of people are coming up through Mexico into the United States. Over the period of January through April of this year, Customs and Border Patrol say that about 350,000 people were apprehended crossing the southern border. Although continuing on at the exact same rate for the rest of the year may make border apprehensions approach one million, there are also seasonal differences to account for and the fact remains that at no point during the last five years have border apprehensions ever even reached one million people a year. In other words, Trump is lying, in addition to the issues inherent in his racist assertion that his fantasy security problems in the United States are all the Mexican government’s fault.
He’s not backing down from his positions. Roberts also asked him about the threat from Republicans to try and block his new Mexico tariffs, which he responded to by ranting:
‘I don’t think they’ll do that. I think if they do, it’s foolish. There’s nothing more important than borders. I have tremendous Republican support. I have a 90 percent — 94 percent approval rating as of this morning in the Republican Party. That’s an all-time record. Can you believe that? Isn’t that something? I love records.’
It’s not immediately clear where Trump got those numbers. There’s a poll covering his first 100 days in office circulating out there in which 94 percent of self-identified Trump supporters approve, but beyond that, it’s murky.
More acutely than the president’s long-running, lie-riddled egotism, the president of the United States is standing before the world and basing his globally reverberating trade and immigration policy on the notion that “there’s nothing more important than borders,” which could be a sentence pulled from a grade school paper.
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