Trump defends tariffs on China, Mexico

President TrumpDonald John TrumpRussian sanctions will boomerang States, cities rethink tax incentives after Amazon HQ2 backlash A Presidents Day perspective on the nature of a free press MORE lashed out at the media reports on Saturday about his plans to impose tariffs on Mexico and hike existing duties on Chinese imports.

Trump predicted that companies would return to manufacturing goods in the U.S. to avoid steep tariffs on their goods.

In several tweets Saturday afternoon, the president took aim at the Washington Post over the newspaper apparently erroneously referring to the duties on Chinese imports as only affecting $200 billion worth of imports, writing that the actual number was closer to $250 billion.

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"Washington Post got it wrong, as usual. The U.S. is charging 25% against 250 Billion Dollars of goods shipped from China, not 200 BD," Trump wrote.

The president added that companies that operate out of Mexico would face heavy penalties unless the Mexican government took steps to stop the flow of migrants headed to the U.S., while predicting that similar pressure on China would force the country's government to reach a trade agreement with the U.S.

"Also, China is paying a heavy cost in that they will subsidize goods to keep them coming, devalue their currency, yet companies are moving to U.S. in order to avoid paying the 25% Tariff," Trump wrote.

"Like Mexican companies will move back to the United States once the Tariff reaches the higher levels," he tweeted. "They took many of our companies & jobs, the foolish Pols let it happen, and now they will come back unless Mexico stops the travesty that is taking place in allowing millions of people to easily meander through their country and INVADE the U.S., not to mention the Drugs & Human Trafficking pouring in through Mexico."

"Are the Drug Lords, Cartels & Coyotes really running Mexico?" the president concluded. "We will soon find out!"

The tweets come in response to criticism on Capitol Hill aimed at the president's new tariffs on Mexico, which were announced this week amid the U.S.'s ongoing trade dispute with China, which reignited earlier in May.

Trump announced this week that Mexico would face gradually steeper tariffs until the flow of migrants to the southern U.S. border stopped or was significantly reduced, a move that earned the ire of some Republicans including Senate Finance Committee chairman Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOvernight Health Care: Nevada union won't endorse before caucuses after 'Medicare for All' scrap | McConnell tees up votes on two abortion bills | CDC confirms 15th US coronavirus case Mnuchin defends Treasury regulations on GOP tax law Wyden, Mnuchin clash over Trump tax returns, Hunter Biden probe MORE (R-Iowa).

"Trade policy and border security are separate issues. This is a misuse of presidential tariff authority and counter to congressional intent," Grassley said in a statement.