President Trump tweets 'progress is being made, but not enough' on tariff negotiations with Mexico

Posted at 7:43 PM, Jun 05, 2019

Talks between the White House and Mexico officials will continue on Thursday after no deal was reached on immigration and tariffs.

President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday evening that he intends to move ahead with his threat to impose a 5% levy on all Mexican imported goods if no agreement is reached on immigration enforcement -- a move that would dismiss opposition from his own party and risk the strong economy he's counting on heading into the 2020 presidential campaign.

The comments came after Vice President Mike Pence met with Mexico's foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, for 90 minutes at the White House on Wednesday. A senior administration official tells CNN the officials from Mexico put forward things they could do better and acknowledged there's a crisis on the US-Mexico border, but administration officials say it's still not enough and there's more Mexico can do.

Pence reiterated Trump's assessment that "not nearly enough progress was made" during Wednesday's meeting.

The vice president tweeted, "Negotiations will continue. Progress was made but as @POTUS said 'not nearly enough.' @SecPompeo, @DHSMcAleenan, & I made clear: Mexico must do more to address the urgent crisis at our Southern Border."

Ebrard expressed optimism in comments at the Mexican Embassy in Washington after the talks.

"We are optimistic because we had a good meeting with respectable position from both parts," he said at a news conference.

Ebrard said the talks with US officials were focused on migration, not tariffs. He acknowledged that the number of migrants has gone up, and said it will be a subject discussed in the continuing talks Thursday.

"We didn't discuss the tariffs. The dialogue was focused on migration and what Mexico is proposing to the United States," Ebrard said.

"We had the opportunity to share our point of view," he added.

But then came the repeated threat from Trump, who is overnighting at his Irish golf course while in Europe for D-Day commemorations.

It capped a roller-coaster day in Washington over the threatened tariffs, which the President has said he would increase to 25% by October if there is no change in migration across the southern US border -- a move that economic analysts say risks hundreds of thousands of US jobs .

Republicans in Congress have expressed open opposition , challenging Trump to defend his plan to them in person and making clear they want him to find a way out of the tariff threat he issued last week.

Members want him to appear before them so they can appeal directly to him and urge him to back down.

Sen. Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, said Trump should make his case to them in person.

"I think we have had in the past effective meetings with the President," he said.

At issue is whether the President will declare a new national emergency to proceed with the escalating tariffs, which he announced last week on Twitter as a move intended to pressure Mexico into stemming Central American migrant traffic across the southern US border.

But Trump tweeted after the meeting concluded: "Immigration discussions at the White House with representatives of Mexico have ended for the day. Progress is being made, but not nearly enough! Border arrests for May are at 133,000 because of Mexico & the Democrats in Congress refusing to budge on immigration reform."

"Further... .talks with Mexico will resume tomorrow with the understanding that, if no agreement is reached, Tariffs at the 5% level will begin on Monday, with monthly increases as per schedule. The higher the Tariffs go, the higher the number of companies that will move back to the USA!"

White House counsel Pat Cipollone will meet with legal counsel from Mexico on Thursday. There also will be additional, lower-level conversations Thursday, the senior administration official told CNN.

White House officials told CNN earlier on Wednesday that they were not expecting a deal to come out of the meeting between the vice president and Mexico's foreign minister. Instead, one official said, the meeting would be "an opportunity for the Mexican government to show what more they're doing" to avoid the tariff on imports.

Yet top White House officials have suggested that Trump will drop the tariffs if he gets an offer he likes from Mexico, which has already moved to beef up its enforcement activities.

Trump's top trade adviser, Peter Navarro, said Wednesday the threatened tariffs "may not have to go into effect" if the country can demonstrate it's taking steps to halt the flow of undocumented migrants across the southern US border.

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