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Donald Trump warned Wednesday that he plans to push ahead with tariffs on Mexican imports, despite growing opposition from business leaders, Democrats and, critically, his own party.
High-level talks in Washington on Wednesday evening failed to reach an agreement, and Trump tweeted from Ireland that Mexico was not doing enough to stem the flow of migrants to the U.S.
“Immigration discussions at the White House with representatives of Mexico have ended for the day. Progress is being made, but not nearly enough,” Trump tweeted from the U.K., where he's been on a three-day state visit.
“Further talks with Mexico will resume [Thursday] with the understanding that, if no agreement is reached, tariffs at the 5% level will begin on Monday,” the president added.
Trump surprised everyone last week when he announced that unless Mexico meets his demands, tariffs would be imposed on all Mexican imports, which are worth about $350 billion a year. The tariffs will kick in on June 10, beginning at 5 percent and rising to 25 percent by October.
Trump is demanding Mexico do more to prevent migrants from entering the U.S. from Mexico illegally. Figures released on Wednesday show illegal border crossings have risen to a seven-year high.
A two-hour meeting between Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard failed to find a resolution, and the topic of tariffs didn’t come up, officials told the New York Times.
During the meeting, Ebrard attempted to show that Mexico was taking the situation seriously, pointing out it was deploying additional troops to the border with Guatemala and stepping up its fight against organized crime.
Trump, without giving any specifics or suggestions for how it could be done, appears to want Mexico to suddenly and completely stop the flow of migrants into the U.S.
But on Wednesday, Pompeo and Pence once again pushed the idea of Mexico entering into a “third safe country” treaty, under which Mexico would accept asylum seekers rather than allowing them to proceed across the border into the U.S. Mexico has repeatedly refused to consider the proposal.
“The meeting was respectful,” Ebrard told reporters Wednesday evening. “I believe it's important to be optimistic, especially in tough negotiations.”
Trump’s plan has received considerable opposition from all corners, including many in his own party who believe it will have a negative impact on the U.S. economy. An analysis released this week claims the 5 percent tariffs will result in 400,000 people losing their jobs.
Many Republicans are considering joining forces with their Democratic rivals to create a veto-proof majority that would block Trump’s tariffs.
Republican lawmakers were further angered Tuesday when the administration sent two lower-level lawyers to brief them, and the attorneys were unable to answer basic questions about the tariffs. Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kansas) has demanded that Trump brief Republicans directly before any tariffs are imposed.
But time is running out. The tariffs are set to go into effect Monday, and Trump, who has been in Europe all week, will not return to Washington until Friday evening.
He will, however, make time for golf: He will sleep at his money-losing Doonbeg resort in Ireland on Thursday night and spend Friday morning on the greens.
Cover: President Donald Trump speaks while meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, Wednesday, June 5, 2019, in Shannon, Ireland. Trump is on his first visit to the country as president. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)