Whole Lotta Nothin': Trump's Secret Trade Deal With Mexico


A few avid Trump supporters asked me yesterday why I was silent on Trump's big success with Mexico. Let's investigate.

"Weird, nothing on Mexico Mish?" was one such comment from yesterday.

There is really not much to this success story as I pointed out on June 8 in Trump Declares Victory in Staged Mexico Crisis.

However, since readers insist, let's tie up some loose ends with an investigation of allegedly secret details as well as outright lies.

Secret Deal Exposed

Yesterday, the Rolling Stone reported You Can Now Read Trump’s ‘Secret Deal’ With Mexico.

The prior weekend, Trump had triumphantly said that Mexico agreed to deploy its national guard to curb immigration across its borders and agreed to buy “large quantities of agricultural product” from the United States. But the joint statement sent out by the State Department did not mention trade, and the Mexican ambassador to the U.S. dodged a question about trade in an interview last Sunday. And, in an interview that week, White House Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney claimed the public may never see the terms of the deal.

This skepticism is likely what prompted the president to go in front of the cameras waving around a piece of paper he claimed was a “supplement” to the deal but refused to disclose the terms of said deal. On Friday, though, the Mexican government released a copy of the agreement, shared by Bloomberg’s Mexico bureau chief Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, and—surprise, surprise—trade is not mentioned at all, nor are the tariffs Trump kept threatening.

In effect, the deal is really an agreement to continue talks between both nations and essentially reflects the terms laid out in the original joint statement: Mexico will deploy its national guard, focusing on its southern border, and migrants seeking asylum will return to Mexico to await the United States’ decision whether they will be granted asylum. And, as was reported, the terms of this deal were largely agreed upon months ago, despite Trump’s attempts to make it appear that they only just reached a deal a week ago under threat of tariffs.

Rolling Stone vs Ned Price

  • Rolling Stone: "It’s just one more example of how Trump manufactures a crisis, makes escalating threats, and then “solves” the crisis that didn’t ever exist in the first place. All to make himself look like the conquering hero."
  • Ned Price: See above Tweet

One might wonder if the Stone copied Price, but the whole thing is so obvious that the likely explanation is more than one person figured out the obvious.

Secret Agreement

That's your alleged "secret deal".

What About Corn?

That was the lie of the day on June 8 that I did fail to mention. Let's now investigate that claim.

Mexico Denies Claim

Oops No Corn

Flashback June 9: Bloomberg reports Mexico Doesn't Back Up Trump's Twitter Claims of Big Farm Deal

“Some things not mentioned in yesterday’s press release, one in particular, were agreed on. That will be announced at the appropriate time,” Trump said Sunday [June 9] in a series of four tweets about Mexico, the media and other matters.

Those "secrets" are now on full display so let's continue with a discussion of the blatant lie.

Back to Bloomberg

Increasing Mexico’s purchases from the U.S. beyond current levels wasn’t discussed during the Washington talks, said the three people with knowledge of the deliberations who weren’t authorized to speak publicly.

Mexico has no state-owned agricultural conglomerate to buy food products or handle distribution, or a government program that could buy farm equipment for delivery to producers.

Mexican Ambassador on Face the Nation

The Mexican ambassador would not confirm there was anything in the "secret deal" backing up Trump's claim.

Why Secrets are Secrets

There is a simple reason Trump wanted to keep this all a secret:

It's a Whole Lotta Nothin'

When the deal is all smoke, mirrors, and lies, of course you want to keep it all a big mysterious secret.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (17)
No. 1-6

To their credit, some former supporters have spotted this chicanery and are no longer on board. They would probably have more patience if he ended the wars, took on the Fed, stopped immigration flow, or the other stuff candidate Trump liked to talk about a few years ago. They wanted MAGA but got a never-ending Tweetstorm instead, with lots of pleading for lower interest rates.

The remaining red hats will probably stay to the bitter end, just like Obama's hope and change crowd and the Bush neocons. The only thing left to jolt them is insanity like a war with Iran, but hopefully it doesn't come to that.


To be fair, if the Trump administration did in fact negotiate these proposals with Mexico earlier in the year, then that is worth acknowledging (assuming one supports the proposals themselves), even if the events over the past two weeks contributed little to the negotiations.

I have no idea if the 6000 policemen on Mexico's souther border will make a difference. However, the agreement that asylum seekers from the Northern Triangle countries won't be able to enter the US legally until after their cases are processed, which takes years, will be a major deterrent to fake asylum claims. This should put a dent in "catch and release". That agreement, whether or not it resulted from the tariff threats, is a big win for Trump.

Seen in this light, the tariff threats were just political theater, as Mish proves in this post. However, it was a great way for Trump to advertise his biggest win yet on immigration. A simple press conference would have been covered for a day at most. By announcing the tariff threats, he guarantees that it's headline news for over a week.

Is it good policy to threaten a neighbor with tariffs? Probably not (although the Mexican officials probably knew what was going on to at least some extent). However, it's great politics for Trump. He has controlled the narrative for over a week and advertises a win that's important to his base and many swing voters.

Eddie Coyle
Eddie Coyle

We are on the numbers to have over one million illegal migrants caught at the Southern border. What is the multiple NOT caught? 90% of asylum seekers do NOT show up for their hearing after release into the country. Staged Mexico Crisis.... only to an advocate of open borders and unrestricted migration.


Mish the safe first country is one thing not even the New York Times put out. It's something Mexico said they would never do but after Tariff threats they agreed to it. They also are going after the caravan organizers. They weren't doing that until after the tariff threat. They also agreed to a 45 day period enforcement check. All the other measures negotiated prior like the national guard wasn't being enforced until the tariff threat, even Chris Cuomo of CNN, brother of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, stuck up for Trump saying the threats led to enforcement. I will note I was surprised that Chris supported the enforcement of border control measures, he's Liberal but obviously not as much as his brother who supports sanctuary cities. Chris actually said border enforcement is a good thing and glad now Mexico will enforce it. Yep shocker for me to see Chris say that.


"There is really not much to this success story as I pointed out on June 8" Hi Mish, care to address the Mexican army putting 15 thousand troops on the boarder after the June 7th agreement? Maybe you could cut and paste another Ned Price tweet they're great! But I'm guessing this would be considered 'status quo' by you and old Ned. Maybe you could use another hard to find clip from Face the Nation where the interviewer is openly hostile toward anything Trump. Or maybe another quote from three people with knowledge of the meeting but who can't publicly speak about it.
PS I'm not an avid Trump supporter, just average citizen who thinks our southern boarder policy is insane. ? A middle American in a blue state who has to pay full freight for everything while my illegal resident brethren is getting free college, free health care, free legal council and now drives licenses. The drivers license thing really has me scratching my head as I fucking need six points of identification to get one as a US citizen who holds valid US passport. And the cherry on top being voter motor registration, they aren't supposed to but there is nothing stopping them from voting once they get hold of a license. And with the current basket democratic presidential hopefuls (ie free shit America) I'm feeling a bit apprehensive about what I'm seeing with respect to our southern boarder. If that colors me an avid Trump supporter in your eyes than I guess that's the cross I will have to bear.

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