- Carlos Barria/Reuters
- President Donald Trump on Wednesday complained that it would hurt his chances in 2020 if the military got a “little rough” with migrants at the border.
- “Our military can’t act like they would normally act … they have all these horrible laws that the Democrats won’t change they will not change them,” Trump said while attending a GOP fundraiser in Texas.
- Trump’s trip to Texas comes as he pushes his immigration agenda into overdrive, and after recent purges at the Department of Homeland Security.
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President Donald Trump on Wednesday expressed frustration the military can’t respond more forcefully, and potentially even violently, to migrants at the border.
The president also suggested he’s considering sending more troops to the border to address the surge in migrants.
After speaking with people at a Republican fundraiser in Texas, Trump said, “I’m going to have to call up more military. Our military, don’t forget, can’t act like a military would act. Because if they got a little rough, everybody would go crazy.”
“Our military can’t act like they would normally act … they have all these horrible laws that the Democrats won’t change they will not change them,” Trump added, according to reporters at the scene. “And I think they will pay a very big price in 2020 for all of the things, whether it is the fake witch hunt they start out, or whether it is a situation like this. I think the border is going to be an incredible issue.”
There are currently roughly 3,000 troops stationed at the US-Mexico border, a NORTHCOM spokesperson told INSIDER. The spokesperson said there were around 5,000 troops there in mid-March.
Trump on Wednesday also said that the controversial remarks he’d made in announcing his 2016 presidential campaign several years ago were “tame” compared to stories he’d heard about the journey migrants make to the US.
“From the time I made my first speech at Trump Tower, when I mentioned the word ‘rape’ and everybody went crazy, that turned out to be nothing compared to what happens on those journeys up, nothing. My speech was so tame, as it turned out,” Trump said.
“Dangerous people are coming here. And the good people are dying,” Trump added.
The president also seemed to change his tone on Mexican immigrants somewhat in comparison to migrants from Central American countries like El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. “Those countries are sending the tough ones. They are sending the gang members,” Trump said. “People from Mexico, they come in and help with the farming and they go out, no problem.”
It’s not entirely clear where Trump got his information, but he has a long history of making false or inaccurate claims related to immigration and has frequently exaggerated the extent to which undocumented immigrants commit acts of violence in the US.
When Trump announced his presidential campaign back in 2015, he said, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best …They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
Trump’s trip to Texas comes as he pushes his immigration agenda into overdrive and after recent purges at the Department of Homeland Security linked to his frustration over surges in illegal border crossings.
Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen resigned on Sunday and there’s been a broader shakeup in the agency. Trump was reportedly angry with Nielsen after she told him it would not be possible to bar asylum seekers and close ports of entry.