‘I mean the whole border’: Unapologetic Trump clarifies ‘lethal force’ and possible border shutdown to stunned press

President Donald Trump indicated that if things get “uncontrollable” at the Southern U.S. border, he will not hesitate to shut the “whole” border down.

The president spoke with reporters from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida where he spent Thanksgiving, threatening to close the U.S. border with Mexico if necessary for a “period of time until we can get it under control.”

 

His comments came after a reporter questioned whether the military could use lethal force against migrants traveling to the southern border of the U.S.

“If they have to, they’re going to to use lethal force. I’ve given the OK. If they have to, I hope they don’t have to, but you’re dealing with a minimum of 500 serious criminals,” Trump responded. “So I’m not going to let the military be taken advantage of. I have no choice. Do I want that to happen? Absolutely not, but you’re dealing with rough people.”

A memo signed by White House chief of staff John Kelly on Tuesday said troops at the border “may perform those military protective activities that the secretary of defense determines are reasonably necessary to ensure the protection of federal personnel, including a show or use of force (including lethal force, where necessary), crowd control, temporary detention, and cursory search,” CBS News reported.

The president noted that the people of Tijuana “opened up with wide arms” to welcome the migrant caravan, but  “now they’re going crazy to get them out … because bad things are happening.”

Three dozen caravan members were arrested in the past week in Tijuana for drug possession, public intoxication, disturbing the peace and resisting police, Fox News reported. Frustrated resident in the border city took to the streets to  protest the migrants flooding in, demanding they be sent back to their own countries.

“It’s not in this country because we’ve closed it up. Actually, two days ago, we closed the border. We actually just closed it. We say nobody is coming in because it was out of control,” Trump continued in his discussion with reporters Thursday.

All northbound lanes at the San Ysidro port of entry were temporarily closed on Monday amid a reported potential influx of migrant caravan members.

“What do you mean you closed the border and nobody is coming in? What do you mean by that?” the reporter asked the president to clarify.

“If we find that it’s uncontrollable, Josh, if we find that it’s — it gets to a level where we are going to lose control or where people are going to start getting hurt, we will close entry into the country for a period of time until we can get it under control,” Trump replied.

“Do you mean the entire border?” the reporter asked.

“The whole border. I mean the whole border,” the president repeated, adding how it would not benefit Mexico which would not be able to ship cars into the U.S. for sale.

“But we’re going to either have a border or we’re not. And when they lose control of the border on the Mexico side, we just close the border. And we have a very powerful border. We built a very strong border in a very short period of time,” Trump continued.

The president’s comments came after he blasted California’s 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for blocking the enforcement of the administration’s new asylum rules, which required people to apply for asylum only at an official border entry point.

While the expected critics blasted the president for actually securing America’s border and looking out for its own, others applauded Trump and made it clear they have his back on decisions to protect the nation.

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Frieda Powers

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