Monday, June 10, 2019

OPINION - Shields and Wehner 6/7/2019

"Shields and Wehner on Trump’s tariff threat, Biden’s abortion rule reversal" PBS NewsHour 6/7/2019


SUMMARY:  Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and Peter Wehner of The New York Times join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week’s news, including President Donald Trump's threat to impose tariffs on Mexican goods, former Vice President Joe Biden's policy reversal on an abortion rule, plus remembering D-Day 75 years later.

Judy Woodruff (NewsHour):  President Trump's ongoing threat to impose tariffs on Mexican goods, Joe Biden's policy reversal, and remembering D-Day 75 years later.

It's been a busy week in politics,.  and we have Shields and Wehner here to analyze it all.  That's syndicated columnist Mark Shields and contributing opinion writer for The New York Times Peter Wehner.

And hello to both of you…

Mark Shields, syndicated columnist:  Judy.

Peter Wehner, New York Times:  Thank you.

Judy Woodruff:  … on this Friday.

Let's start by talking about, Mark, what we led with tonight, which is — we started talking about the jobs report today, but connecting it to this threat of tariffs on Mexico that the President has been talking about foe days.

Now, the latest word we're hearing is maybe it won't happen, but it's thrown a lot of people off-balance, Congress, Mexico, a lot of companies.  How do you assess the President's handling of this?

Mark Shields:  Judy, it's the President.  It's the way the President does it.  It's very personal.  It's high-risk.

It's not traditional.  We're talking our two biggest trading partners, Mexico and China.  And, right now, I think what we're facing is probably best put by Angus King [D-Me], the senator from Maine, who pointed out that 84 percent of the lobster business in Maine has already been lost because of the policy to Canada, and the unlikelihood of that getting back.

And for the first time, I have seen a little bit of resistance, a little bit of vertebrae on the part of farm state Republicans.  I think that — but I predict right now, with absolutely no knowledge, that the President will declare victory, and there will be something.

But I can't believe it's going to do anything but leave relations with Mexico, which had been improving over the past 30 years, in just terrible and worse shape.

Judy Woodruff:  How do you size up with the President's been saying and how he's handled this?

Peter Wehner:  I think Mark is right.  There's a lot of volatility in this.

Trump has a tropism for tariffs, if I can use that alliteration.  It's one of the few issues that he's had deep convictions for his entire life.  It's hard to tell if he thinks it's a means or an end.

If it's an end, we're in real trouble, because tariffs are taxes.  It would hurt the economy.  And it would create a lot of uncertainty in the market.

And the other thing — last thing that Mark said, which I think is extremely important, in some ways the most important part of this story, which is the damage that it's doing to the relations with Mexico.  That has been a tremendous achievement, bipartisan achievement, over the last several decades.

Mark Shields:  Yes.

Judy Woodruff:  Mexico is an ally.

Peter Wehner:  It is an ally.

But the relations are getting distant and icy.  And, in fact, if you study what's going on in Mexico, you see this stoking, that Trump is stoking anti-American resentment.

And if that relationship goes south, so to speak, that is going to have a lot of ramifications that are harmful, economic, security and otherwise.

Judy Woodruff:  But, Mark, you're saying — when you say you think the President may back off and accept whatever Mexico offers, is it — how much of that has to do with the politics of this, that he is running into headwinds from members of his own arty?

Mark Shields:  No, I think there are, and I think in the farm state — and they are states that he has to carry, quite frankly, in November 2020.

But I think he has shown that ability or the agility, I should say, to declare victory.

Judy Woodruff:  And, I mean, do you agree with Mark, that what we may see is the President's had everybody on the edge of their seats, but now we will see?

Peter Wehner:  I suspect that is — I suspect that's right, that it's such a question mark.

I mean, one of the, I guess, motifs of the Trump presidency is, he will be reckless, or wants to be reckless, and his aides try and stop him.  And sometimes they do, and sometimes they don't.

But I do agree with Mark that, whatever happens, Trump will declare victory.  It doesn't have to be rooted in reality.  It's just rooted somewhere in his own — in his own weird mind.

Judy Woodruff:  Well, we will…


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