Trump ‘deadly serious’ about Mexico tariffs, White House official says

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney gave a stern warning about President Trump’s upcoming decision to impose tariffs on Mexican goods in retaliation to illegal immigration.

“He is absolutely, deadly serious,” Mulvaney said on “Fox News Sunday.” “In fact, I fully expect these tariffs to go on to at least the 5 percent level on June 10th. The president is deadly serious about fixing the situation at the southern border.”

“Six months ago, we told everybody it was an emergency situation, very few people believed us,” continued Mulvaney. “It’s real. We had a group of a thousand people — not in different times — one group of a thousand people walk across the border in just the last couple of days.”

Mulvaney’s comments came after Trump announced Thursday, plans to increase tariffs “until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied.”

“On June 10th, the United States will impose a 5% Tariff on all goods coming into our Country from Mexico, until such time as illegal migrants coming from Mexico, and into our country, STOP,” Trump wrote. “The Tariff will gradually increase until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied at which time the Tariffs will be removed.”

President Trump
Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

The White House later said the tariff would gradually increase to 10 percent on July 1, 15 percent on Aug. 1, 20 percent on Sept. 1, and 25 percent on Oct. 1.

Mulvaney said there are “specific things that the Mexicans can do” to reduce the flow of immigrants crossing through to the U.S.-Mexico border and thereby prevent these tariffs from increasing.

In addition to securing their southern border, which is shorter than boundary shared by Mexico and the U.S., Mulvaney said, Mexican officials “could go after their domestic terrorist organizations, their criminal organizations who are in the business of moving people across Mexico” and “make Mexico a safe place for people to claim asylum” when they come from Central American countries.

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