The Art of Trump’s Mexico Deal

President Donald Trump gives a thumbs up as he walks toward Marine One while departing from the White House in Washington on May 16, 2019. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The master dealmaker strikes again.

Despite relentless abuse from his critics, President Trump has successfully used the promise of tariffs to persuade Mexico to help us combat illegal immigration.

When the president announced his intention to implement a 5 percent tariff on Mexican imports, his political opponents worked overtime to discredit the strategy, arguing that it would never lead to a meaningful deal between the two countries.

“The President’s threat is not rooted in wise trade policy but has more to do with bad immigration policy on his part,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. “Yet again, the President is sowing chaos over the border instead of delivering solutions for American workers and for American consumers.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) also attacked President Trump’s tariff threat, arguing that his “random dart throwing ain’t helping anybody.”

But it turned out that Donald Trump’s “darts” weren’t so random, after all—in fact, he hit the bullseye. Before the tariffs even took effect, his administration reached a new immigration deal with Mexico that will significantly curtail the flow of illegal migrants into the United States.

“I am pleased to inform you that The United States of America has reached a signed agreement with Mexico,” he tweeted. “The Tariffs scheduled to be implemented by the U.S. on Monday, against Mexico, are hereby indefinitely suspended.”

In order to avoid the tariffs, Mexico agreed to deploy 6,000 National Guard troops to secure its own southern border and prevent caravans from crossing its territory to reach the United States. In addition, the agreement expands the “Migrant Protection Protocols” that allows asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico while their applications are processed by U.S. judges. Finally, Mexico has agreed to work on solutions to the human-smuggling trade at the heart of the border crisis.

Of course, this isn’t the first time that the president’s detractors have underestimated him.

When the president imposed strategic counter-tariffs on China, skeptics argued that his trade policy would cause irreversible damage to the U.S. economy while failing to slow China’s menacing economic rise. Instead, the U.S. economy is performing better than it has in decades, while China’s economy is stagnating.

When President Trump first took office, many so-called experts also thought that North Korea would never be willing to negotiate de-nuclearization, and some even warned that the world was on the brink of nuclear war. Today, however, we are closer than ever to reaching a meaningful agreement with Pyongyang, which has dramatically toned down its provocations in response to Trump’s outreach.

What the Democrats and the mainstream media fail to understand is that their unyielding pessimism only proves the president’s point—the political establishment in Washington isn’t capable of defending U.S. interests, because establishment figures aren’t willing to consider new approaches when the old strategies fail.

The president’s new agreement with Mexico is merely the latest demonstration of the deal-making prowess that Americans expected when they sent him to the White House.

Jason D. Meister is an advisory board member of Donald J. Trump for President Inc.