A LOOK AT TRUMP’S ‘CRISIS’ MANAGEMENT
By Alexandra D’Elia, @Alex_DElia11
Politics production assistant
President Donald Trump uses many negotiating strategies. But some of them follow a similar pattern:
- creating leverage with a threat;
- using the threat to escalate tension or create a crisis;
- backing down from the threat; and then
- claiming victory when the crisis is averted.
Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on Mexico unless the country reached a deal with the U.S on immigration is just the latest example. Let’s take a look at some other instances.
Mexico tariff threat: Trump announced May 30 that he would impose a 5 percent tariff on Mexican goods coming into the U.S., and increase the tariff percentage over the summer until the country took action to reduce the rise in migrants trying to enter the U.S. at the southern border. Economists, Democrats and some Republicans warned that the threats would cause economic harm to both nations. But Trump announced in a tweet Friday night that the U.S. reached a signed agreement with Mexico and the tariffs were “hereby indefinitely suspended.” The joint declaration says that Mexico agreed to deploy its National Guard to address the crisis, though officials say that agreement was already made in March.
U.S.-Mexico border shutdown: In another effort to curb illegal migration from Mexico, Trump announced on March 29 that he would shut down America’s southern border to Mexico the following week unless Mexican authorities took action. Trump then said in Florida that there was a “very good likelihood” that he would close the border, “and that is just fine with me.” Economists warnedthat a border shutdown would be economically crippling. Less than a week later, on April 4, the president said that he would give Mexico a “one-year warning” before closing the border. He then warned of imposing auto tariffs on Mexican goods instead, which he did two months later.
Negotiations with North Korea: Following North Korea’s weapons tests in 2017, Trump told the U.N. General Assembly the U.S. would have “no choice but to totally destroy North Korea” if the country attacked. He called Kim Jong Un “Little Rocket Man” and said that he was “on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.” The rhetoric sparked fears of a possible armed conflict between the two countries. Kim responded that Trump would “pay dearly” for his threats. Trump and Kim met in Singapore in June of 2018, where Trump said he would halt “very provocative” U.S.-South Korea military exercises and touted his relationship with Kim. Trump claimed the summit as a major foreign policy victory. A year of verbal tiffs followed, along with a failed second summitin February in Hanoi, Vietnam. Trump said today that he had a very good relationship with North Korea, and pointed to a “very warm” letter he received yesterday from Kim.
Pulling out of NATO: The president said in July of 2018 at a NATO summit in Brussels that he would be “unhappy” if other countries did not “up their commitments” to the alliance, but that “everyone has agreed to”do so. Some foreign leaders disputed Trump’s claim. In January of this year, The New York Times reported that Trump suggested several times last year that the U.S. withdraw from the alliance, which America has been a member of for 70 years. Trump’s criticism of NATO as a candidate and president has worried allies who argue the U.S. should maintain its ties to NATO and other international alliances.
General Motors subsidies cut: In May of 2018, Trump threatened to cut all federal subsidies to General Motors after the organization announced that it would close its plants in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland. “Nothing being closed in Mexico & China. The U.S. saved General Motors, and this is the THANKS we get!” Trump tweeted at the time. General Motors shares fell 3.5 percent. Trump never cut subsidies to the auto giant. Last month, Trump claimed victory when General Motors announced that it would sell its Lordstown, Ohio, plant to an electric truck manufacturer. Trump tweeted: “With all the car companies coming back, and much more, THE USA IS BOOMING!”
CNN’s Anderson Cooper says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s comment that she believes that President Donald Trump is engaging in a “cover-up,” is getting under Trump’s skin.
The endless controversies generated by the president’s mouth come in a half-dozen different varieties.
Yes, what a president says should ideally be accurate, temperate, and wise. Yes, a lot of what Trump says — particularly when speaking off-the-cuff — is false, inflammatory, and crude. No, he’s not going to change. He is who he is, and he’s never going to be shamed or pressured into behaving or thinking differently. Freaking out over everything that comes out of his mouth seems like a waste of time and energy at this point. But cataloguing the types of things he says is a useful exercise, insofar as it helps clarify why he says them. It’s easy enough to do, too, since there are about six different types:
1. I am the greatest.
As he said at CPAC, his improvisations are better than most other politicians’ scripted remarks: “You know I’m totally off script right now. And this is how I got elected, by being off script.” In his mind, even his critics secretly like him, and they only criticize him because they’re ordered to do so by powerful, shadowy authorities: “I got great reviews, even from some of the really bad ones out there. Of course, by the following morning, they had to change because the head people called up, ‘What are you doing?’”
2. That good thing that happened was because of me.
Everything good that’s happening in America —
- the growing economy,
- pay raises for the military,
- the lack of nuclear war with North Korea,
- Ted Cruz’s victory in Texas,
- low oil prices,
- the success of the U.S. bid for the 2026 World Cup,
- GOP gains in the Senate, declining drug prices — is because of him, and mostly because of him.
3. It’s not my fault.
“Nobody knew health care could be so complicated,” he says with childlike amazement. The recent North Korean summit didn’t work out because of the Michael Cohen hearing: “For the Democrats to interview in open hearings a convicted liar & fraudster, at the same time as the very important Nuclear Summit with North Korea, is perhaps a new low in American politics and may have contributed to ‘the walk’” If it weren’t for “the phony Russia Witch Hunt, and with all that we have accomplished in the last almost two years (Tax & Regulation Cuts, Judge’s, Military, Vets, etc.) my approval rating would be at 75 percent rather than the 50 percent just reported by Rasmussen. It’s called Presidential Harassment!”