Stunned Trump aides are scrambling to defend his surprise Mexico tariff announcement as allies desert him: report
President Donald Trump. (AFP / MANDEL NGAN)

President Donald Trump put one of his strongest campaign promises on the line when he threatened to impose substantial tariffs on Mexico-- the economy.


On Thursday, Trump said that he would initiate a 5 percent tariff on Mexico goods if they do not crack down on immigration into the U.S. by June 10th. He noted that tariffs would continue to increase until the problem -- as the president sees it -- shows significant improvement."

However, by doing so, he put the support of his base in jeopardy. According to a report from Politico, Trump's aides spent the day scrambling to spin the news in the president's favor.

"Donald Trump's aides and allies scrambled Friday to put a positive spin on the president's threat to hit Mexico with new tariffs, fearing that the move could cost him his strongest re-election talking point," the report said.

"The reaction illustrated Trump's isolation on the issue and the degree to which the president was freelancing — the rollout of the decision was not fully prepared when Trump tweeted about it. It wasn't just White House aides who opposed the move. Prominent Republicans lashed out, business leaders sounded the alarm, and the president's biggest campaign supporters openly acknowledged their anxiety," the report explained.

"If the economy slows down and ceases to be red hot, that's going to make it hard to be re-elected," Republican pundit Scott Jennings said.

The report went onto explain that the news "frustrated" Trump's aides, and that the president doesn't fully understand how tariffs work. It also revealed that Trump's team was sent talking points to spin the news as Trump "keeping our nation safe."

Adding, "But his announcement frustrated aides who think tariffs will drive up costs of consumer goods, hurt the broader economy and jeopardize the trading relationship with the U.S.'s neighbor and ally. Trump has said that he thinks tariffs are paid by the U.S.'s trading partners, but economists say that Americans are paying for them."

"Trump surrogates were sent an email Friday with talking points titled 'President Trump Takes Decisive Action to Secure the Border and Keep Our Nation Safe,'" the report said.