White House: Trump 'deadly serious' about Mexico tariffs

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney gave a stern warning about President Trump's upcoming decision to whether 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.”

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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Impact of Trump's proposed steel and aluminum tariffs
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 1: A trader is comforted by a coworker as they work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on March 1, 2018 in New York City. Major stock indexes plunged Thursday afternoon following President Trump's announcement that he was imposing a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum. Investor concern about the news rattled the Dow Jones industrial average, which closed down more than 400 points. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MARCH 02: Wine in aluminum cans is displayed on a shelf at Ales Unlimited on March 2, 2018 in San Francisco, California. Beverage companies that use aluminum for canned drinks are concerned that tariffs proposed by US President Donald Trump could result in higher prices for consumers and job cuts across the industry. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump announces that the United States will impose tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on imported aluminum during a meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 1, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Members of trade unions hold a protest against US President Donal Trump's import surcharge on Brazilian steel and in defense of their employment, outside the US Consulate in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on March 5, 2018. Since announcing last week plans to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminium, Trump has shrugged off threats from many nations, including China, Canada, Brazil and Mexico among others. / AFP PHOTO / Miguel SCHINCARIOL (Photo credit should read MIGUEL SCHINCARIOL/AFP/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MARCH 02: Beer in aluminum cans is displayed on a shelf at Ales Unlimited on March 2, 2018 in San Francisco, California. Beverage companies that use aluminum for canned drinks are concerned that tariffs proposed by US President Donald Trump could result in higher prices for consumers and job cuts across the industry. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and press secretary Sarah Sanders listen as U.S. President Donald Trump announces that the United States will impose tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on imported aluminum during a meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 1, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 1: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on March 1, 2018 in New York City. Major stock indexes plunged Thursday afternoon following President Trump's announcement that he was imposing a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum. Investor concern about the news rattled the Dow Jones industrial average, which closed down more than 400 points. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
Members of trade unions hold a protest against US President Donal Trump's import surcharge on Brazilian steel and in defense of their employment, outside the US Consulate in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on March 5, 2018. Since announcing last week plans to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminium, Trump has shrugged off threats from many nations, including China, Canada, Brazil and Mexico among others. / AFP PHOTO / Miguel SCHINCARIOL (Photo credit should read MIGUEL SCHINCARIOL/AFP/Getty Images)
Chairman, CEO and president of Nucor John Ferriola and U.S. Steel CEO Dave Burritt flank U.S. President Donald Trump as he announces that the United States will impose tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on imported aluminum during a meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 1, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 1: A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on March 1, 2018 in New York City. Major stock indexes plunged Thursday afternoon following President Trump's announcement that he was imposing a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum. Investor concern about the news rattled the Dow Jones industrial average, which closed down more than 400 points. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MARCH 02: Wine in aluminum cans is displayed on a shelf at Ales Unlimited on March 2, 2018 in San Francisco, California. Beverage companies that use aluminum for canned drinks are concerned that tariffs proposed by US President Donald Trump could result in higher prices for consumers and job cuts across the industry. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 1: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on March 1, 2018 in New York City. Major stock indexes plunged Thursday afternoon following President Trump's announcement that he was imposing a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum. Investor concern about the news rattled the Dow Jones industrial average, which closed down more than 400 points. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
Pacific Coast Producers president and CEO Dan Vincent stands in his cooperative's distribution center in Lodi, California, U.S., April 27, 2018. Picture taken April 27, 2018. To match Insight USA-TRUMP/TARIFFS-CANS REUTERS/Noah Berger
An employee uses a crane as he prepares to move a steel pipe at the SAW Pipe Mills, operated by Liberty Commodities Ltd., in Hartlepool, U.K., on Thursday, June 14, 2018. Steel and aluminum�tariffs�imposed by the U.S. in March may already be filtering through to prices charged by American producers of the metals. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images
An employee passes a stack of steel pipes at the SAW Pipe Mills, operated by Liberty Commodities Ltd., in Hartlepool, U.K., on Thursday, June 14, 2018. Steel and aluminum�tariffs�imposed by the U.S. in March may already be filtering through to prices charged by American producers of the metals. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A steel pipe enters a cleaning machine at the SAW Pipe Mills, operated by Liberty Commodities Ltd., in Hartlepool, U.K., on Thursday, June 14, 2018. Steel and aluminum�tariffs�imposed by the U.S. in March may already be filtering through to prices charged by American producers of the metals. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Identification stencils hang above steel pipes at the SAW Pipe Mills, operated by Liberty Commodities Ltd., in Hartlepool, U.K., on Thursday, June 14, 2018. Steel and aluminum�tariffs�imposed by the U.S. in March may already be filtering through to prices charged by American producers of the metals. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Sheet steel sits stacked in the store room at the SAW Pipe Mills, operated by Liberty Commodities Ltd., in Hartlepool, U.K., on Thursday, June 14, 2018. Steel and aluminum�tariffs�imposed by the U.S. in March may already be filtering through to prices charged by American producers of the metals. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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Trump on Sunday further threatened Mexico with tariffs, calling the country an “abuser.”

“People have been saying for years that we should talk to Mexico,” Trump tweeted Sunday. “The problem is that Mexico is an ‘abuser’ of the United States, taking but never giving. It has been this way for decades. Either they stop the invasion of our Country by Drug Dealers, Cartels, Human Traffickers, Coyotes and Illegal Immigrants, which they can do very easily, or our many companies and jobs that have been foolishly allowed to move South of the Border, will be brought back into the United States through taxation (Tariffs).”

“America has had enough!’ he said.

Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan also backed Trump’s tariffs, saying “we need Mexico to step up and do more.”

“I think what the president said, what the White House has made clear is we need a vast reduction in the numbers crossing,” McAleenan said Sunday on CNN's “State of the Union.”

“These crossings into Mexico are happening on a 150-mile stretch of their southern border,” he said. “This is a controllable area. We need them to put their authorities down there and interdict these folks before they make this route all the way to the U.S.”

Mexican officials are expected to meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later this week to discuss Trump’s new tariffs. But talks of a resolution, according to Trump, have been insufficient in solving “the Humanitarian and National Security Crisis” at the border.

“Mexico is sending a big delegation to talk about the Border,” Trump tweeted Sunday. “Problem is, they’ve been ‘talking’ for 25 years. We want action, not talk. They could solve the Border Crisis in one day if they so desired. Otherwise, our companies and jobs are coming back to the USA!”

Mulvaney, appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” referred to Trump’s move to impose tariffs on Mexico as one of the “extraordinary tools” the U.S. is using to stop the increased flow of border crossings.

"The reason we're doing things people don't expect is that we're facing things at the border we never experienced before," he said. "We're using extraordinary tools because there are extraordinary circumstances that dictate those."

A scene from the border at Juarez, Mexico

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