WASHINGTON — President Trump assailed The New York Times on Sunday over a report that his new immigration agreement with Mexico consisted largely of previously agreed actions, claiming that there were actually secret, undisclosed elements to the accord.
“Another false report in the Failing @nytimes,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. “We have been trying to get some of these Border Actions for a long time, as have other administrations, but were not able to get them, or get them in full, until our signed agreement with Mexico.”
The Times issued a statement standing by its article. “We are confident in our reporting, and as with so many other occasions, our stories stand up over time and the president’s denials of them do not,” the statement said.
To press his case, Mr. Trump added: “Importantly, some things not mentioned in yesterday press release, one in particular, were agreed upon. That will be announced at the appropriate time.”
Mr. Trump may have been hinting at a “safe third country” treaty that the administration has sought but failed to secure with Mexico. Under such a treaty, migrants entering Mexico would have to apply for asylum there. The United States would then have the legal ability to reject asylum seekers who tried to enter the country if they had not sought refuge in Mexico first.
But officials from both countries said the two sides reached no commitment on such a treaty, and they said the provisions that were included in the deal were essentially reaffirmations of actions Mexico had already agreed to. Officials argued that the value of the agreement may be greater dedication by Mexico to actually follow through on such commitments to avoid another threat of tariffs by Mr. Trump.
In his tweets on Sunday, Mr. Trump threatened to turn to tariffs again if Mexico did not live up to the agreement and reduce the flow of migrants at the border. He also attacked The Times and CNN for its reporting on the agreement. “The Failing @nytimes, & ratings challenged @CNN, will do anything possible to see our Country fail!” he wrote. “They are truly The Enemy of the People!”
In its statement, The Times responded that “calling the press the enemy is undemocratic and dangerous.”
Mr. Trump has repeatedly denied stories in The Times that were later confirmed as true. Just last week, he assailed The Times and CNN for reporting that he called Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, “nasty” despite a recording where he was clearly heard using the word. Last year, he posted on Twitter a distorted version of a meeting he had with A.G. Sulzberger, the publisher of The Times.