President Donald Trump said Thursday he would delay closing the border with Mexico for a year, apparently backtracking on his earlier threat to seal off the southern border as early as this week.
Trump told reporters at the White House that he would give Mexico a year to halt the flow of illegal drugs coming into the United States. If the drugs don’t stop, he said, the U.S. will impose tariffs on Mexican autos. If that doesn’t work, Trump said, then the U.S. would close the U.S.-Mexican border.
“That will be a very powerful incentive,” he said.
Trump insisted he wasn’t bluffing.
“I will do it,” he said. “I don’t play games.”
Trump’s remarks are the latest signal that the administration is toning down its rhetoric after days of relentlessly attacking Mexico over illegal border crossings.
During a trip to Florida last Friday, Trump warned there is a “very good likelihood” that he would close the border this week if Mexico doesn’t do more to stem the influx of migrant families arriving from Central America.
But by Tuesday, he appeared to soften his position, saying closing the border is still an option but that he had seen signs that Mexico “has started apprehending more people.”
Trump’s threat to close the border has prompted objections from border-state Republicans and business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which argued the move would damage the nation’s economy.
Trump will visit border on Friday to tour a recently installed section of his border fence in California. It’s the first replacement project completed under his presidency.
Story cited here.