The White House swears that President Donald Trump is very serious about his threat to shut down the border, despite the major impact the move would make on the U.S. economy. A debate emerged Friday when Trump complained to reporters regarding Mexico’s inability to prevent undocumented migrants from crossing the border.
“If they don’t stop them, we are closing the border. We’ll close it. And we’ll keep it closed for a long time. I’m not playing games,” Trump said.
President Trump followed with more threats on Saturday, tweeting that he would close the border and that the move would “help us with stopping the drug flow from Mexico.” By Sunday, the White House already spoke with “Fox News Sunday,” claiming Trump’s threat “certainly isn’t a bluff.”
“You can take the president seriously,” senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said. White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said that “something dramatic” would need to occur for Trump not to keep his word on closing the border this week. Mulvaney also pointed out the lack of support from Democrats, which apparently tied the president’s hands.
“Faced with those limitations, the president will do everything he can,” Mulvaney said. “If closing the ports of entry means that, that’s exactly what he intends to do. We need border security, and we’re going to do the best we can with what we have.”
Mulvaney appeared on CNN, in which he said the White House was worried about the impact a border closure would have on the economy but stuck to the immigration message. “We’re also concerned about the effect on the American economy and the nation as a whole from having more than 100,000 people cross illegally this month,” he said.
However, Trump has said similar threats before with no actual follow-through. In December, in the middle of the government shutdown, the president threatened to “close the southern border entirely” if “obstructionist Democrats” didn’t fund his border wall. The funding never showed up, yet Trump never closed the southern border.
Following Trump’s initial threats, experts immediately began warning those of the catastrophic impact the U.S. economy would face if the border did close, including cutting off supply lines for U.S. automakers, raising prices for grocery shoppers, and forcing businesses to lay off staff.
The State Department also announced Saturday plans to cut off aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. “What we need to do is focus on what’s happening in Central America, where three countries are disassembling before our eyes and people are desperately coming to the United States,” Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, from Illinois, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. “The president’s cutting off aid to these countries will not solve that problem.”