At a Tuesday news conference outside the White House, President Donald Trump waved a folded piece of paper before reporters’ eyes, claiming it was a secret deal he’d struck with Mexico. However, he offered no details on its contents.
Shortly after, former Vice President Joe Biden knocked the theatrical display, saying that those who suffer under the weight of the president’s tariffs want to know.
“President Trump is bringing his secret one-page agreement with Mexico to Iowa,” the 2020 Democratic candidate tweeted. “The Iowans being crushed by his tariffs would like to see it.”
Trump, who headed to Iowa for the state’s Republican Party fundraiser that evening, said the agreement is “very long and very good,” The New York Times reported. He did not say when it would go into effect ― only that it would when he wants it to.
“I am going to let Mexico do the announcement at the right time,” he said.
Washington Post photographer Jabin Botsford caught a photo of the piece of paper, which he shared on Twitter, noting that it states “the Government of Mexico will take all necessary steps under domestic law to bring the agreement into force with a view to ensuring that the agreement will enter into force within 45 days.”
It remains unclear whether the document, which clearly has two signatures dated June 7, is an official agreement.
Trump announced Friday that he had “reached a signed agreement with Mexico,” suspending tariffs that would have gone into effect against the country’s exports on Monday. In exchange, the president said Mexico will “take strong measures to stem the tide of migration.”
That night, the U.S. State Department released the details on its website, outlining a joint declaration involving the rapid return of asylum seekers to Mexico to wait while their cases are processed in the U.S.
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard confirmed the news to Spanish-language news site Político, and both nations appeared to be on the same page.
On Monday morning, Trump’s Twitter account told a different story. He claimed a “fully signed and documented” part of the deal would “be revealed in the not too distant future and will need a vote by Mexico’s Legislative body!”
According to the New York Times, Ebrard then publicly denied that there was a secret agreement, stating during a Mexico City news conference that both sides came to an understanding that immigration would be monitored, and if the number of migrants entering the U.S. isn’t reduced, changes to asylum rules could be made.
“Let’s have a deadline to see if what we have works, and if not, then we will sit down and look at the measures you propose and those that we propose,” Ebrard said, describing the content of the negotiations.
According to The Associated Press, Ebrard noted that the only deal reached was the one made public.
“There is no other thing beyond what I have just explained,” he said.