Trump on Closing the Border: ‘I Never Changed My Mind’

By Melanie Arter | April 5, 2019 | 3:22pm EDT

( – President Donald Trump’s threat to tariff cars coming from Mexico and close the border in a year does not mean the president has changed his mind, he told reporters Friday.

He said he still may close the border “at some point,” but he’d rather begin with tariffs.


“I never changed my mind at all. I may shut it down at some point, but I'd rather do tariffs. So Mexico, I have to say, has been very, very good -- you know that -- over the last four days, since I talked about shutting down the border,” Trump said.

“If they continue that, everything will be fine. If they don't, we're going to tariff their cars at 25 percent coming into the United States. So every time they make a car, it's a 25 percent tariff. That means we make money as opposed to lose money. We probably bring those car companies back into the United States,” the president said.



“But if, on the other hand, it doesn't work -- which it will, 100 percent -- the tariffs will work just like they've worked with steel. Our steel industry is so hot right now because of what I did with tariffs, same thing with aluminum -- they'll work - but if it didn't work, I will close the border,” he said. “I am also -- I’m looking at an economic penalty for all of the drugs that are coming in through the southern border and killing our people.”

When asked why he’s not closing the border this week, the president said, “Because Mexico has been absolutely terrific for the last four days. They're apprehending everybody. Yesterday, they apprehended 1,400 people. The day before, it was a thousand, and if they apprehend people at their southern border, where they don't have to walk through, that’s a big home run. We can handle it from there. It's really good.

“Now, Congress has to act. They have to get rid of catch and release, chain migration, visa lottery. They have to get rid of the whole asylum system because it doesn’t work, and, frankly, we should get rid of judges. You can't have a court case every time somebody steps their foot on our ground. So very important that Congress acts, but Mexico, in the last four days -- it's never happened like that in 35 years,” he said.

“The USMCA side deal says you can't do tariffs on cars. Why do you think you can?” a reporter asked.

“This will supersede USMCA. USMCA is a great deal, and it's very good for Mexico, but this will supersede USMCA,” Trump said.

As previously reported, Trump issued a warning to Mexico on Thursday that if they don’t stop the flow of illegal drugs flowing into the United States, he planned to put tariffs on the cars coming from Mexico.

During a cabinet meeting on the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council, Trump said his earlier threat to close the U.S.-Mexico border seemed to be working, but he warned that if Mexico doesn’t continue to crack down on illegal immigration and drug trafficking, he will impose tariffs and then close the border.


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