On Monday’s CNN Right Now, host Brianna Keilar and CNN national security analyst/former Obama official Samantha Vinograd ventured deep into President Trump’s victory in the trade skirmish between United States and Mexico. Vinograd believed that Trump was being rewarded for “bad behavior” and being a “bully” by securing Mexico’s commitment to combat illegal immigration.
Vinograd was seemingly disappointed that Trump’s political and economic posturing delivered him the results that he sought. She downplayed the Mexican tariff strategy by suggesting that Trump was only threatening Mexican “avocadoes and beer.”
When the conversation shifted towards China, Huawei, and the tariffs the Trump administration has leveled at the authoritarian Xi regime, Vinograd insinuated that Trump was endangering the lives of the American people:
The President is willing to sacrifice intel sharing and national security in the name of trade. That tells me nothing is off the table when it comes for the President to achieving, again, his political agenda, even if that means risking the safety and security of the American people.
Vinograd accused Trump of threatening American safety because he wanted to “bully” his way into getting a favorable trade deal.
In actuality, Huawei is suspected of being a Chinese front for Beijing to be able to conduct espionage on the West. Trump demanding allies to stand up to Chinese encroachment into the Western world should, in reality, be seen as an attempt to conduct peace through unified Western strength. One would imagine that an “expert” in national security would be able to see the parallel between Trump’s Huawei strategy, and that of Alexander Hamilton’s in Federalist 24, as well as President Ronald Reagan’s “peace through strength” military strategies.
Keilar then maneuvered the conversation back towards the Mexican tariff issue when she said, “The Mexican foreign minister says no secret immigration deal existed between his country and the United States, directly contradicting President Trump's claim on twitter their a fully signed document would be revealed soon.”
This, however, is incorrect. President Trump never tweeted about having any sort of “secret immigration deal” with the Mexican government. Perhaps she was mistakenly referring to a New York Times article which suggested that the U.S. and Mexico had been planning an agreement for months.
Vinograd finished the segment up by reminding CNN’s audience that Trump is a villainous “bully” who turns his “ire” towards those who cross him in anyway. The truth: Trump was being strong on Mexico to help combat a crisis that they themselves have a share in the responsibility of fixing.
Here’s the complete transcript of the segment:
CNN Right Now
1:41 PM Eastern
BRIANNA KEILAR: Now there is some skepticism about how much impact tariffs had on this deal. The New York Times reports that part of the Mexico deals were hammered out months ago. I'm joined by CNN national security analyst Samantha Vinograd who served as senior adviser to the national security adviser for President Obama. What do you think about the role of tariffs here considering this reporting?
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD (CNN National Security Analyst): Well, when I worked at the White House tariffs were used to actually punish battle bad behavior and there had to be a legal basis for implementing tariffs. I don't think that Mexican avocados and beer represent a national security risk, so the President made very clear he's willing to intermingle economic policy with a political agenda which is to make progress on immigration, but this not so new deal he's gotten with the Mexicans is at best a band-aid. This deal does nothing to mitigate the causes of immigration from Central America. Funding hasn't been restored, and it's unclear how much the 6,000 National Guard members that the President – Mexican National Guard members that Trump is focused on can actually do. The Mexican National Guard was just created in February. They are a civilian force so it's not as if this deal is going to solve the immigration crisis, and at the same time we're make clear that all of these migrants have to stay on the Mexican side of the border, and the Mexicans do not have the capacity to provide for their safety or just basic services that are required.
KEILAR: So you think the tariffs may have helped but that obviously that's not the best method, is that a fair way to characterize your assessment?
VINOGRAD: I think that this is rewarding bad behavior. It's positive for the U.S. Economy, and Mexican economy, and the global economy that these tariffs are not going into effect, but what’s happened is that President Trump acted like a bully and the Mexicans agreed to do something so they could say he got a victory. It is likely he'll likely use this as a tool down the road because he can say he got a reward from it.
KEILAR: Well so speaking of this idea of co-mingling the different spheres, right? Economic, immigration, let's talk about national security as well, right, because China, he's talking about a tariff threat there. We've seen from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, he's saying, look, there's not going to be intel -- sharing with countries who use Huawei. Okay, paging China.
KEILAR: So the President is trying to get a meeting with XI here upcoming, but what does this mean when the President is saying this isn't about national security. This is about trade. What is, from your perspective from the expert perspective, the problem with that?
VINOGRAD: Well, in the CNBC interview, President Trump said the whole Huawei thing, just a bargaining chip in the trade war. Pompeo has launched a global campaign threatening to cut off our intelligence-sharing partners if our partners don't stop using Huawei as 5G network. The President is willing to sacrifice intel sharing and national security in the name of trade. That tells me nothing is off the table when it comes for the President to achieving, again, his political agenda, even if that means risking the safety and security of the American people.
KEILAR: Alright, let’s go back to Mexico because we just something just in. The Mexican foreign minister says no secret immigration deal existed between his country and the United States, directly contradicting President Trump's claim on twitter their a fully signed document would be revealed soon. What do you think?
VINOGRAD: Trump lied? How strange. But even if this was a figment of President Trump’s imagination, this is President Trump interfering in Mexican politics. He said that if this wasn’t signed by the Mexican Senate, or ratified he would put more tariffs on. He has tried to bully our Congress into doing his bidding on immigration, now he's turned his ire to Mexico and making up facts again to pursue a political agenda.
KEILAR: Sam Vinograd, thank you so much.