Skip to main content

U.S. President Donald Trump departs the White House on April 5, 2019, in Washington, DC.

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

U.S. President Donald Trump headed to California on Friday in a renewed push to make border security a central campaign issue for his 2020 re-election.

Trump, talking to reporters as he left the White House to head out west, denied that he changed his mind about shutting down the border with Mexico, a threat he backed off on Thursday. Trump said he reversed course because he saw Mexico get tougher in stopping illegal immigrants from moving north.

“Mexico has been absolutely terrific for the last four days,” the president claimed, as he pushed Congress to act. “I never changed my mind at all. I may shut it down at some point.”

Story continues below advertisement

Though Trump, who has pulled a series of about-faces in recent days, walked away from this threat to close the border, he still intends to highlight conditions at the boundary with Mexico. He was heading to the Southern California town of Calexico to meet with local law enforcement officials and to tour a section of recently rebuilt fencing he cites as the answer to stop a surge of migrant families coming to the U.S. in recent months.

“I’m heading to the border. We’re building a lot of wall. We’re going to show you a section,” Trump said. “And a lot of things are happening. A lot of very positive things are happening.”

The fence that Trump is touring is a two-mile section that was a long-planned replacement for an older barrier, rather than new wall. The White House says the barrier is marked with a plaque bearing Trump’s name and those of top homeland security officials.

Trump took to Twitter earlier Friday to claim that he could revive his threat to shut the border, a move that fellow Republicans warned would have a devastating economic impact.

“If for any reason Mexico stops apprehending and bringing the illegals back to where they came from, the U.S. will be forced to Tariff at 25% all cars made in Mexico and shipped over the Border to us. If that doesn’t work, which it will, I will close the Border,” Trump tweeted, before invoking the new, but not-yet-approved trade policy. “This will supersede USMCA.”

The southern border is nearly 2,000 miles long and already has about 650 miles of different types of barriers, including short vehicle barricades and tall, steel fences that go up to 30 feet high. Most of the fencing was built during the administration of George W. Bush, and there have been updates and maintenance throughout other administrations.

Trump has yet to complete any new mileage of fencing or other barriers anywhere on the border. His administration has only replaced existing fencing, including the section he is touring Friday. Construction for that small chunk of fencing cost about $18 million, began in February 2018 and was completed in October. Plans to replace that fence date back to 2009, during the beginning of President Barack Obama’s tenure.

Story continues below advertisement

Trump walked away from his border closure threat just days after he also abruptly postponed Republican efforts to work on a replacement for the Affordable Care Act.

After the border visit, Trump was slated to travel to Los Angeles, where he was set to hold a pair of fundraisers in the deep-blue city. He was then poised to travel to Las Vegas for another re-election fundraiser and an address to the Republican Jewish Coalition, which is backed by GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter