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."

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Scoop: Inside the Trump campaign's big hedge on Facebook

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Trump campaign has invested most of its advertising budget to date on Facebook, testing thousands of versions of ads per day to maximize its spending.

But behind the scenes, a source familiar with the campaign tells Axios, the thinking has shifted: "As everyone can see, we still have strong spending on Facebook, but the percentage of our total media budget [on Facebook] is shrinking."

Trump's revenge tour has the House in its sights

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Saul Loeb/Getty Contributor

In the lead-up to the 2018 midterm elections — buoyed by Republican control of both chambers — President Trump viewed campaigning for the House as a lower-tier priority and instead poured his energy into rallying for the Senate.

But after the GOP reckoning in 2018, and experiencing firsthand how damaging a Democratic-led House has been to him, Trump is now personally invested in helping Republicans regain the majority in November, several people familiar with his thinking tell Axios.

Pelosi warns U.S. allies against working with China's Huawei

Nancy Pelosi, Feb. 16. Photo: Sven Hoppe/picture alliance via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday cautioned U.S. allies against allowing Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei to develop their 5G networks, arguing at the Munich Security Conference that doing so is akin to “choosing autocracy over democracy," CNBC reports.

Why it matters: Pelosi's hawkish stance marks a rare area of agreement with the Trump administration, which believes Huawei is a national security threat because the Chinese government may be capable of accessing its equipment for espionage.

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