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White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said on "Fox News Sunday" that President Trump is "deadly serious" about his threat to impose a 5% tariff on all Mexican goods crossing the border until the "illegal immigration problem is remedied," adding that he believes "American consumers will not pay for the burden of these tariffs."

"[T]hat old-fashioned economic orthodoxy doesn't work when it's relatively easy to substitute other goods. Prices from China have gone up. American consumers are going to products that are made in the United States, for example, that don't carry those tariffs. We think the same thing will happen here and American consumers will not pay for the burden of these tariffs. Secondly, there's already a price associated with illegal immigration. American taxpayers are paying hundreds of billions of dollars for illegal immigrants. They're paying hundreds of billions of dollars for the drugs that come across the southern border. So there is already a cost associated with this that we are trying to get off of the backs of ordinary Americans."

Why it matters: Mexico recently became the No. 1 trading partner with the U.S. Trump's threat to impose tariffs at a rate as high as 25% on $350 billion worth of Mexican goods would effectively amount to an $87 billion tax increase on American consumers — and would impact goods ranging from avocados to cars, as Fox's Chris Wallace notes.

  • The New York Times reported Saturday that Trump overruled the objections of top White House advisers, including Jared Kushner and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who argued that it could upend the president's chances of passing his NAFTA replacement.
  • Mulvaney told Wallace that this is an "immigration matter, not a trade matter" — claiming that the latest tariffs and the USMCA are "not interrelated." Pressed on whether intentionally harming the Mexican economy would result in even more illegal immigration, Mulvaney admitted that that's "probably not inaccurate," but said that it's up to Mexico to help solve the problem if Congress won't act.

Go deeper: Trump's Mexico tariffs could decimate the auto industry

Go deeper

8 hours ago - Health

Food banks feel the strain without holiday volunteers

People wait in line at Food Bank Community Kitchen on Nov. 25 in New York City. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City

America's food banks are sounding the alarm during this unprecedented holiday season.

The big picture: Soup kitchens and charities, usually brimming with holiday volunteers, are getting far less help.

10 hours ago - Health

AstraZeneca CEO: "We need to do an additional study" on COVID vaccine

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said on Thursday the company is likely to start a new global trial to measure how effective its coronavirus vaccine is, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Following Phase 3 trials, Oxford and AstraZeneca said their vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving.
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions.
  3. World: Expert says COVID vaccine likely won't be available in Africa until Q2 of 2021 — Europeans extend lockdowns.
  4. Economy: The winners and losers of the COVID holiday season.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.