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Donald Trump Defends Border Closure Option: Security ‘More Important’ than Trade

US President Donald Trump speaks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (unseen) as US Vice President Mike Pence (3L) looks on at the White House in Washington, DC, on April 2, 2019. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
CHARLIE SPIERING

President Donald Trump on Tuesday acknowledged that closing the Southern border would negatively affect trade but said he is willing to do it anyway for security reasons.

“Sure, it’s going to have a negative effect on the economy… but to me, trading is very important, the borders are very important, but security is what is most important,” he told reporters at the White House. “Let me just give you a little secret. Security is more important to me than trade. So we’re going to have a strong border or we’re going to have a closed border.”

The president commented on the possible action during a White House meeting with the Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg of NATO.

Trump urged Democrats to negotiate a deal to help fix the crisis on the border and demanded Mexico do more to stop migrants from approaching the United States border.

But he also demonstrated his willingness to close the border or large sections of the border, noting that there are many people urging him to do so.

“I’m totally prepared to do it,” Trump said. “We’re going to see what happens in the next few days.”

He berated Democrats for ignoring the crisis, calling the current system the “worst, dumbest immigration system in the world.”

“The system is absolutely maxed out,” Trump said.

Trump noted approvingly that Mexico is taking more action to block migrants from crossing their southern border.

“They say that they are going to stop them, we’ll see,” he said.

On Friday, Trump said he was thinking of closing the border as soon as the following week and that he was “not playing games.”

But the president does not have a specific timeline in mind for closing the border, the White House confirmed earlier Tuesday.

“The president’s not working on a specific timeline, he’s working to look at all of the options on the table,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said to reporters at the White House.

Sanders said that the president continued to look at “all options” regarding the closure of ports of entry on the border and that the White House Council of Economic Advisers was currently studying the impact of the possible action.

Sanders also expressed optimism that Mexico would do more to stop the caravans of migrants making their way to the border from Central American countries.

“We’re hoping that Mexico will continue to step up like we’ve seen them do the last couple of weeks,” she said when asked about closing the border. “We hope that that continues and we can work with them so we don’t have to do that.”

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