President Donald Trump told reporters Thursday he was backing off from his threat to close the southern border, and he will give Mexico one year to seal the border and stop the flow of illegal drugs.
If that doesn’t happen, Trump said, he will slap Mexico with tariffs on cars exported to the U.S. And if that doesn’t work, he’ll shut down the border.
Per USA Today:
“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 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 the 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.