President Donald Trump has threatened to close the border with Mexico as his impasse with the Democrats over funding of his much vaunted wall deepens.
In a series of tweets on Friday morning, Trump took aim at the Democrats for hampering his wall plan in their refusal to back his request for $5 billion for border security, which has led to a partial government shutdown.
He tweeted: “We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely if the Obstructionist Democrats do not give us the money to finish the Wall & also change the ridiculous immigration laws that our Country is saddled with. Hard to believe there was a Congress and President who would approve!”
He lambasted the free trade deal NAFTA, saying that under its rules, the U.S. “looses sooo much money,” asserting the amount is “over $75 billion. “I would consider closing the Southern Border a “profit making operation,” he added.
Without explaining how, he then went on to say in a third tweet in quick succession that the car industry should be brought back to the U.S. “where it belongs.”
“Go back to pre-NAFTA, before so many of our companies and jobs were so foolishly sent to Mexico. Either we build (finish) the Wall or we close the Border,” Trump said in a tweet which appeared to link his view of the shortcomings of the North American trade deal with immigration.
He also tweeted that other central American countries like Guatemala and El Salvador “are doing nothing for the United States but taking our money.”
“Word is that a new Caravan is forming in Honduras and they are doing nothing about it. We will be cutting off all aid to these 3 countries, taking advantage of U.S. for years!” he said.
Trump is looking at whether to cancel the 25-year-old trade agreement in favor of a revised trade deal.
Marc Short, former White House director of legislative affairs told the Washington Examiner there was a “high probability” that Trump would withdraw the U.S. from NAFTA before the recently signed U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) reaches Congress to be ratified.
Meanwhile, the partial shutdown which went into effect on December 21 is expected to continue until the New Year after both chambers of Congress adjourned on Thursday without resolving the closure. Trump insists the shutdown will continue until he gets $5 billion for a border wall that the Democrats say would be an ineffective solution to a problem Trump exaggerates.
On Thursday, Trump ally and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham claimed the proposed wall would form part of the U.S. defense against terrorism and part of a global strategy against “radical Islam.”
Without any evidence, he wrote on Twitter how the fortifications would be America’s “last line of defense” against radical Islamists.
This article has been updated to include Trump’s latest tweet about Guatemala and Honduras.