President Donald Trump said Sunday he wants to wait until after the election to finalize a new deal on the North American Free Trade Agreement — but it wasn’t clear whether he meant the U.S. midterms in November, or a Mexican vote that’s expected to lift a left-wing leader into power.
Asked in an interview on Fox News “you can’t do Nafta before the midterms,” Trump responded, “I want to wait until after the election.”
The president went on to say: “You’re going to have an election, it’s going to be very interesting. I have a feeling he’s going to be fine. And the reason is because if they’re not fine, I’m going to tax their cars coming into America, and that’s the big one.”
That comment seemed to refer less to the U.S. elections and more to the vote on Sunday that’s expected to sweep Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador into power as Mexico’s first leftist leader in decades — certainly an “interesting” outcome for Trump and others.
Lopez Obrador’s opponents have suggested his election will create more tension with Washington at a time when relations are already fraught by the stalled talks on reworking Nafta and by Trump’s immigration policies, including a planned wall along the U.S. border.
The Associated Press and Washington Post reported that Trump’s comments on Fox meant he is waiting until after the U.S. midterms for a Nafta revision.
The White House didn’t immediately respond to requests for clarification on Trump’s comments.
The economist tapped by Lopez Obrador to lead Nafta talks if he wins said on June 26 that he hopes a deal can be reached “within a couple of months.”