Three days after President Donald Trump tweeted that Mexico had agreed to 'immediately' begin buying large amounts of farm products from the U.S., top Trump Administration trade officials were unable on Tuesday to give lawmakers on Capitol Hill any details about any such agreement, which Mexican leaders say does not exist.
"I don't have any details to that regard," said Gregg Doud, the chief negotiator for agricultural deals with the U.S. Trade Representative's office.
"I don't have anything to add," said Ted McKinney, a top trade official at the Department of Agriculture.
"We're always ready to deal, but we have to get clarification first," McKinney added at a hearing of the House Agriculture Committee.
Questions surfaced after the President tweeted this early on Saturday morning:
At a previously scheduled hearing on farm trade, Doud and McKinney were pressed for answers by Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN), who got no answers about what crops or farm products were supposedly involved in the Trump farm agreement.
"Is the President promising additional purchases without that being true?" Craig asked.
"Or has the Department of Agriculture and the Trade Representative just not been told yet what the President is promising?" Craig added.
The President's tweet about the supposed farm trade agreement came the morning after the U.S. and Mexico announced new measures to slow illegal immigration over the southern U.S. border, as Mr. Trump held off on his threat to slap new tariffs on all Mexican goods imported into the United States.
Mexican officials - including their Foreign Minister - have disputed the President's claim of a new trade deal involving purchases of American farm products.
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard just confirmed ON the record our scoop: there was NO agreement by Mexico to buy more U.S. agricultural products.— Eric Martin (@EMPosts) June 10, 2019
"There is NO specific agreement on products of that nature," he says in AMLO's morning news conference@nncattan @TheTerminal https://t.co/wo3Gxhy91q
"That seems odd," said Rep. Craig, "that the President has made this announcement and has yet to tell the Department of Agriculture and the Trade Representative for the United States of America."
"I hope we all see that as just a little odd," Craig added.