Readers React: Trump has no right to hide the details of an agreement with Mexico

Andrés Manuel López Obrador
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador speaks about President Trump’s tariff threats at a May 31 news conference in Mexico City.
(Ginnette Riquelme / Associated Press)

To the editor: Just what did the Trump administration and Mexican negotiators agree on to prevent the placement of tariffs on imports to the United States?

President Trump says there are agreements that must be approved by Mexico’s legislature. He threatens reinstatement of tariffs if it does not approve the deal. Our Congress doesn’t know what was agreed on and has no way to offer opinions or corrections.

We don’t know what understandings Trump had or has with North Korea. Our Congress must know the details of any and all foreign agreements. Congress is an equal partner with the executive. If the executive branch keeps foreign agreements secret, it usurps power.

Instead of guessing about the details of Trump’s foreign agreements, we must concentrate on making our government honest with its own citizens. Trump is not free to lie about government policies.


Bob Snodgrass, Pasadena


To the editor: Trump’s reckless and aggressive use of Cold War provisions to levy tariffs masks a colder reality: No president, for any reason, should be able to levy a tariff.

The power to levy duties (tariffs) is among the first and most important powers granted to Congress in the Constitution. This is for good reason, since a tariff is essentially a tax on the public and no single person should ever have that power in a democracy.


Apparently, Congress does not want the responsibility of tariffs because accountability can be a liability. There may even be some value in expedience to let the president use tariffs to respond to national security threats, though Trump has made a mockery of that.

But this does not matter. If the president wants a tariff, he needs to get Congress to produce it.

Dan Shiells, Santa Barbara


To the editor: As a middle-class citizen of the richest nation on Earth, I question our approach to the immigration situation on the southern border.

Clearly, we must consider the hardships that force people to flee their homes. As Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said, the U.S. is not analyzing the causes of mass migration, only the effects, and not taking into account the profound crisis in Central America where people have no options or alternatives.

How about a modern-day Marshall Plan, where we help develop infrastructure in Central America, resulting in employment opportunities? This would provide long-term help for these countries.

Claire Marmion, Long Beach


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