Today, Donald Trump, the President of the United States of America, reiterated his threat to shut down the border within Mexico and the United States. He insisted that any economic impact from the said move would be clouded by the benefits of greater security.
When asked at the White House whether shutting the border would negatively affect the economy of the United States, Trump answered, “Sure, it will have a negative effect on the economy.” He noted that Mexico is considered as “a very big trading partner.”
During a joint appearance with Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO Secretary General, Trump stated: “Trading is very important. The borders are very important. But security is what is the most important.”
He continued: “All you hear me talking about is trade, but let me just give you a little secret.”
He added: “Security is more important to me than trade. So we’re going to have a slower border or a closed border.”
The remarks of Trump came as the top Republican in Congress, the most influential business lobby in the nation, and even the own top economic advisor of Trump all warned that the effect on American businesses of closing the massive U.S. Mexico border could be disastrous.
Today, Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the Senate Majority Leader, told reporters: “Closing down the border would have potentially catastrophic economic impact on our country.”
He added: “I would hope we would not be doing that sort of thing.”
In a statement, the chief policy officer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Neil Bradley, went a step further, after he warned last Monday that “even threatening to close the border to legitimate commerce and travel creates a degree of economic uncertainty that risks compromising the very gains in growth and productivity that policies of the Trump Administration have helped achieve.”
He also noted that the trade of the United States with Mexico “exceeds $1.7 billion daily, and nearly half a million people legally cross the southern border every day as workers, students, shoppers, and tourists.”
According to the director of the National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow, inside the White House, some top officials were looking for ways on how to limit the possible economic damage that would result if Trump made good on his threat to shut down the border.
Kudlow said that among them was the possibility of allowing trucks that are carrying freight to cross the border even if it were sealed. He warned that the president has not yet made any final decisions.
In an interview with CNBC’s Sara Eisen earlier today, he stated: “We are watching it and looking for ways to allow the freight passage, some people call it truck roads, and there are ways you can do that which would ameliorate the breakdown in supply chains.”
Before joining the Trump administration Kudlow was a CNBC contributor. He said that he “fully” supported the immigration policies of Trump.
He stated: “The question is: Can we deal with that, and not have economic damage? And I think the answer is: We can, and people are looking at different options.”
He added: “Particularly if you can keep those freight lanes, truck lanes, open, that’s probably the nub of it.”
It was not clear what the next move of Trump would be. At some points during the day, the US President demanded both that Mexico completely stem the flow of undocumented migrants crossing the border, and that the Congress “meet quickly and make a deal … to get rid of chain migration … get rid of catch and release,” end the visa lottery and “do something about asylum.”
In the Oval Office, Trump also said that “Mexico is now stopping people coming in through Mexico.” However, he did not disclose about the specific actions Mexico was taking.
He stated: “Let’s see if they keep doing that.”
He added: “Now, if they don’t, or if we don’t make a deal with Congress. The border’s going to be closed.”