GOP senator: Trump's Mexico deal sends 'biggest' message to China

Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntThe 17 Republicans who voted to advance the Senate infrastructure bill Senate votes to take up infrastructure deal Eight Republicans join Democrats to confirm head of DOJ environmental division MORE (R-Mo.) said Sunday that President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer New York state Senate candidate charged in riot Trump called acting attorney general almost daily to push election voter fraud claim: report GOP senator clashes with radio caller who wants identity of cop who shot Babbitt MORE’s use of tariffs as leverage in negotiations with Mexico also sends a message to China amid an ongoing trade war between Washington and Beijing.

“I think the biggest message here is not to Mexico but to China that the president is clearly willing to use tariffs,” Blunt said on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” adding that, despite his own reservations about tariffs, “the president believes tariffs are a significant positive economic tool … something he has always said should be part of our arsenal.”

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Trump announced Friday that the promised 5 percent tariffs on imports would be suspended after Mexico had committed to take further action on border enforcement.

Asked about reports that many of the provisions had been reached already in March, Blunt on Sunday responded: “I don’t know that they were.

"No deal is done till it’s done and announced,” he added, citing the last-minute collapse of trade talks between the U.S. and China after Beijing backtracked on earlier commitments on piracy and intellectual property.

Blount praised the Mexican government and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador for their part in the negotiations as well as remarks by López Obrador at a rally Saturday.

“The new president of Mexico has surprised me with his willingness to reach out,” Blunt said, calling the agreement “a big win for both sides.”

In the Saturday rally in Tijuana, López Obrador celebrated the resolution of the talks, with his foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, saying the country emerged from the talks “with our dignity intact.”