Apr 4, 2019

Trump backs off border closure, threatens Mexico with auto tariffs

President Trump on Thursday walked back his previous threat to close the U.S.-Mexico border this week, telling reporters he is giving Mexico a "1-year warning" to stop illegal immigration and what he calls "massive" amounts of drugs entering the country through the southern border.

"If the drugs don't stop or largely stop, we're gonna put tariffs on Mexico and products, in particular cars. The whole ballgame is cars. If they don't do it, we're gonna tax the cars. And if that doesn't work, we're gonna close the borders."

The backdrop: As Axios' Jonathan Swan reported Thursday morning, Trump was hesitant to follow through on his border threat out of fear of doing anything to disrupt the markets. A source who has been talking to Trump about the border situation told Swan: "He’s very well aware that there’s a commercial trucking component that would be devastating on Mexico and would be hurtful to the United States."

Go deeper

The downsides of remote work

Data: Reproduced from Prudential/Morning Consult "Pulse of the American Worker Survey"; Chart: Axios Visuals

The coronavirus pandemic has forced a large-scale experiment in working from home. It has gone well enough that many companies are expanding their remote work expectations for the foreseeable future, and remote employees want to continue to work that way.

Yes, but: The downsides of remote work — less casual interaction with colleagues, an over-reliance on Zoom, lack of in-person collaboration and longer hours — could over time diminish the short-term gains.

Hong Kong's economic future hangs in the balance

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As Beijing forces a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong, the once semi-autonomous city's status as one of Asia's largest financial hubs is at risk.

Why it matters: Political freedoms and strong rule of law helped make Hong Kong a thriving center for international banking and finance. But China's leaders may be betting that top firms in Hong Kong will trade some political freedoms for the economic prosperity Beijing can offer.

Why space is good politics for Trump

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump's exuberance around today's scheduled SpaceX launch — including his decision to travel to Florida to watch — goes beyond a personal fascination with astronauts, rockets, and how to make money and wield power in the next frontier.

The bottom line: There's a presidential election in November, and the U.S. space program enjoys wide support across party lines. It's good politics for Trump, at least for now.