Mexican Deal Confusion: Trump Doubles Down On Farm Purchase Claim, Mexico Denies

Hours after President Trump announced that a deal had been struck with Mexico to avert a round of tariffs that had been planned to take effect on Monday, the New York Times published a story claiming that the 'agreement' that the White House had touted had actually been laid out during discussions over the past several months, implying that Trump's latest border spat with Mexico was little more than a publicity stunt.

The deal to avert tariffs that President Trump announced with great fanfare on Friday night consists largely of actions that Mexico had already promised to take in prior discussions with the United States over the past several months, according to officials from both countries who are familiar with the negotiations.

Friday’s joint declaration says Mexico agreed to the “deployment of its National Guard throughout Mexico, giving priority to its southern border.” But the Mexican government had already pledged to do that in March during secret talks in Miami between Kirstjen Nielsen, then the secretary of homeland security, and Olga Sanchez, the Mexican secretary of the interior, the officials said.

The centerpiece of Mr. Trump’s deal was an expansion of a program to allow asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico while their legal cases proceed. But that arrangement was reached in December in a pair of painstakingly negotiated diplomatic notes that the two countries exchanged. Ms. Nielsen announced the Migrant Protection Protocols during a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee five days before Christmas.

Slamming the story as "another false report" from the NYT, Trump insisted that the latest agreement with Mexico over the border involved concessions that the US has been trying to secure for months. Without Trump's tariff threats, these concessions likely never would have been achieved. And going forward, there will now likely be "great cooperation" between both sides - and if not, Trump can always bring back his tariff threats.

Administration officials cited by the NYT said the language in Friday's joint declaration about deploying the national guard throughout Mexico giving priority to the southern border had already been pledged back in March.

In a separate report that Trump will likely also find frustrating, Bloomberg reported that Trump had doubled down on boasts of "large" agricultural sales to Mexico as a key win for the White House that had helped avert the tariffs. However, no such pledges were included as part of the deal according to a handful of Mexican officials.

Amusingly enough, AMLO also celebrated the "important deal" with the US - meaning that the American press are the only people contesting the facts of how the deal went down.