On Tuesday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) echoed top White House economic advisers when he told reporters that if President Donald Trump does close down the U.S. border with Mexico, it would have “catastrophic economic consequences,” according to a report in The Hill. McConnell spoke with reporters following the president’s warning that if Congress doesn’t soon act to pass stricter immigration laws, he would either “close large sections of the border” or else shut down the border entirely.
“We certainly have a crisis on the border. I think the president’s right about that. [But] closing down the border would have potentially catastrophic economic impact on our country, and I would hope we would not be doing that sort of thing,” McConnell said.
The Majority Leader’s words resonated with reports in Politico and elsewhere that the president’s top economic advisers have been scrambling for the past 36 hours to illuminate to the president just how dire an economic meltdown is possible with the closure of the Mexican border. Both Larry Kudlow and Kevin Hassett are reported to have been presenting Trump with papers and graphs and other data over the last day and a half to try to make him understand just how massive an economic impact the closure of the border would have on U.S. businesses and consumers. They reportedly warned that even closure for just one day could cause economic growth to slow, as well as having a disastrous effect on the movement of goods and raw materials needed to keep the U.S. economy humming.
Meanwhile, Politico is reporting that inside the White House officials have been scrambling to try to find a way to mitigate the impact that such a shutdown would have, should the president decide to follow through with it. One idea was reportedly to shut the border to passenger cars but to allow commercial trucks and other commercial vehicles to continue to cross.
In his remarks to reporters in the Oval Office, Trump did not seem all that concerned.
“Sure, it will have a negative effect on the economy. But to me, trading is very important, the borders are very important, but security is what is most important. I mean, we have to have security.”
Already, even just the rumors and possibility of a border closure have caused economic consequences for U.S. consumers. Bloomberg is reporting that just over the course of Tuesday afternoon following the president’s comments, the price for Mexico’s Haas avocados has jumped 34 percent, the biggest one-day increase since 2009.