Sunday Politics: Trump And Mexico, Biden President Trump threatens more tariffs on Mexico over the influx of migrants crossing the border, while Joe Biden responded to women's allegations of inappropriate touching.

Sunday Politics: Trump And Mexico, Biden

Sunday Politics: Trump And Mexico, Biden

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President Trump threatens more tariffs on Mexico over the influx of migrants crossing the border, while Joe Biden responded to women's allegations of inappropriate touching.


President Trump was at the U.S. southern border again. He continued to advocate for building more wall, kept up his threat to close the border at some point and even talked about levying more tariffs on Mexico.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Trading is very important. The borders are very important. But security is what is most important, and we have to have security.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Joining me now to break this down and discuss the rest of the political news of the day is NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson.

Good morning, Mara.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. President Trump has backed off his threat to close the border. But at the same time, he did something else that was interesting. He threatened tariffs on Mexico at the same time that his administration is trying to build support for his trade deal that is replacing NAFTA. Doesn't this run counter to one another?

LIASSON: It certainly does. He's threatening tariffs on Mexico if Mexico doesn't do what he wants them to do, which is stop the tide of migrants and drugs at the border. But he just signed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement the renegotiated NAFTA, which says you can't do that. You can't put tariffs on Canada or Mexico. And this is what Trump said about that.


TRUMP: This will supersede USMCA. USMCA's a great deal, and it's very good for Mexico. But this will supersede USMCA.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So that's the United-States-Mexico-Canada agreement. Why is he doing this?

LIASSON: Well, USMCA certainly is a huge accomplishment for him. He's talked about it that way. But it shows that he loves tariffs. He said, I'm a tariff man. Of course, that raises the question, why sign a free trade agreement that prohibits tariffs if you like them so much? - but also the more important issue that immigration and appealing to xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment is a signature issue for Trump. He thinks it's very important to his base. He used it in 2016. He'll use it again in 2020. That's why he was in Calexico, Mexico, this past Friday, saying this.


TRUMP: The system is full - can't take you anymore, whether it's asylum, whether it's anything you want. It's illegal immigration - can't take you anymore. We can't take you. Our country is full.

LIASSON: Of course, that's not true. The U.S. is facing a looming labor shortage. And it goes against the entire idea of America, which was built on immigration. The president has even mocked asylum-seekers, suggesting that he doesn't believe anyone could be fleeing for their lives from Central America. As far as he's concerned, asylum is a kind of scam.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Switching gears, I want to talk about former Vice President Biden. He's having his own #MeToo moment. President Trump was relatively restrained about it at first. But that did not last long.

LIASSON: No, it didn't. At first, he waved off questions, saying that he didn't really want to answer the questions about Biden. That lasted about a day or two. Then he retweeted a video from a pro-Trump PAC that doctored Biden's apology video, showed Biden popping up in the background - cartoonish head putting his hands on the real Biden's shoulders. And so he has waded into a new chapter with a new enemy and foil, somebody he wants to denigrate and make fun of.

Biden, for the first time, got into the Twitter wars, tweeted in response to that, quote, "I see you are on the job and presidential as always." So as we know, Biden is widely expected to get into the race later this month, probably after Easter. We know how the pundit class and the Twitterverse (ph) responded to his #MeToo moment. They don't think he's handled it very well. What we don't know is what Democratic voters are going to think about Biden.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That was NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Thank you.

LIASSON: Thank you.

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