Donald Trump suggested “closing up the country for a while” during a tax roundtable in Ohio, a remark that has the media, and other lawmakers, scratching their heads.
As CNN reports, Trump, apparently frustrated with the lack of progress made on border security, made the odd suggestion. Specifically, he made the suggestion in response to the lack of progress on his proposed border wall.
“They don’t want the wall, but we’re going to get the wall, even if we have to think about closing up the country for a while. We’re going to get the wall. We have no choice. We have absolutely no choice. And we’re going to get tremendous security in our country.”
And he made a similar suggestion again, a short time later.
“And we may have to close up our country to get this straight, because we either have a country or we don’t. And you can’t allow people to pour into our country the way they’re doing.”
No one is really sure what Trump meant by “closing up the country,” and as of this writing, The White House has not returned calls for comment.
Over the past couple of weeks, the 45th president has been amping up his talk about immigration and border security, apparently frustrated by the lack of progress by the Republican-dominated Congress.
For example, Trump’s border wall, which was a key promise of his 2016 presidential campaign, has failed to materialize.
— The Hill (@thehill) April 29, 2018
As Time reported earlier this year, Congress passed a budget that included very little of the $25 million needed for Trump’s border wall, and most of that money was earmarked towards improvements to existing sections of the border. In March, Trump tweeted that construction of the border wall had begun, when in fact it hadn’t, according to The L.A. Times.
Though thwarted, Trump has continued to insist that the border wall is both necessary and happening.
Meanwhile, in early April, Trump suggested sending the National Guard to protect the border in the absence of the wall. While supported by some governors (who serve as commanders-in-chief of their National Guard units) were fully on board with the idea, others, such as Oregon’s Kate Brown, said they would issue no such orders.
Also last week, Trump claimed that the border with Mexico was “under siege,” although a day earlier, U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued a report that showed illegal immigration at the southern border roughly the same as it had been the previous month, as well as in line with historical trends.