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President Trump is keeping up his threats to close the southern U.S. border, against the warnings of even some of the nation’s most powerful Republicans.
“Congress must get together and immediately eliminate the loopholes at the Border!” Trump tweeted Wednesday, for the third straight day of closure threats amid a huge wave of asylum seekers crossing into the U.S. “If no action, Border, or large sections of Border, will close.”
“Security is more important to me than trade,” Trump said Tuesday.
Throughout the week, top Republicans have warned of enormous effects from a border closing. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday afternoon that it would be catastrophic.
“Closing down the border would have potentially catastrophic economic impact on our country, and I would hope we would not be doing that,” McConnell said, according to Politico.
Hundreds of thousands of people cross the border every day for business, school, shopping and all kinds of other activities, and economists have warned a closure would result in food shortages and price increases.
Another high-ranking Republican, Senate Majority Whip John Thune of South Dakota, said that Trump’s negotiating tactic could have unintended economic consequences for the United States.
“It’s part of the way he negotiates, but I’m not sure that’s a particularly good idea and I’m not sure it gets the desired result,” Thune said Monday. “Tactically it doesn’t get a result and probably has a lot of unintended consequences.”
Also on Monday, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said that closing the border would have bad consequences for everyone involved.
"I understand the president’s frustration, but the unintended consequences of that, I think, would be bad for everybody," Cornyn said.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, typically one of Trump’s staunchest allies, has been urging the president to back away from threatening to close the border.
“You are taking a bad problem and, by closing the ports of entry, you are creating another problem,” Graham told the New York Times on Tuesday.
Trump did back off the closure rhetoric briefly late Tuesday, saying Mexico was taking unspecified measures to stop the high flow of U.S. asylum seekers from Central America. He's repeatedly called immigrants a threat to national security, while the vast majority of asylum seekers in the latest wave are families fleeing poverty and violence.
Cover: President Donald Trump speaks as he meets with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, April 2, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)