Speed Reads

trump vs mexico

President Trump is a terrible negotiator

Art of the Deal author and U.S. President Donald Trump is maybe not the negotiator he's chalked up to be. Despite his spokesperson once dubbing him "the best negotiator in the history of the world," Thursday's series of incidents with Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto were evidence to the contrary, The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza writes.

Mexico is a major trading partner and ally of the U.S., but was alienated Thursday when Trump insisted Mexico would pay for the border wall, Peña Nieto insisted he wouldn't, and Trump responded by tweeting that if that was the case, then maybe the two leaders should cancel their upcoming meeting. Peña Nieto, in essence, said, "Okay, fine."

This depressing episode confirms several of the worst fears about Trump. The first is that he is not a good negotiator. Rather than waiting a week before he issued his executive orders on immigration, Trump signed them at a moment that maximally embarrassed [Secretary of Foreign Affairs Luis] Videgaray, the Mexican official who is the most sympathetic to him. The moves left the unpopular Peña Nieto with no choice but to cancel next week's visit, and poisoned the relationship with one of America's closest allies and our third-largest trading partner. [The New Yorker]

A Mexican Embassy official noted to Lizza that the diplomats at the White House were also furious at Trump for signing an executive order in his first days as president that called for the construction on the border and expanded deportation laws. "They were like, 'What the f--- are we going to negotiate?'" the official told The New Yorker. "'You've done the job. What are we going to negotiate if you've signed this? What's wrong with you?'"