The Trump administration said Thursday that it would seek to impose a tax on imports, at least from countries with which the U.S. runs a trade deficit, as a way to pay for the wall on the border with Mexico that is one of President Trump's central campaign promises.
Although Trump repeatedly has said that Mexico would pay for the wall, the tax that White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer described to reporters actually would fall on U.S. consumers, not on Mexicans.
"Right now, our country’s policy is to tax exports and let imports flow freely in, which is ridiculous," Spicer told reporters traveling with Trump back to Washington after a speech in Philadelphia.
President Trump cast the cancellation of a meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto as a mutual decision Thursday, saying the summit would have been "fruitless" unless Mexico demonstrated it would "treat the United States fairly" and "with respect."
The scheduled summit had been billed as a chance for Trump and Peña Nieto to start discussions on the North American Free Trade Agreement and immigration, both Trump priorities. But it was Trump's continued insistence that Mexico reimburse the U.S. for construction of a new border wall that prompted Peña Nieto to skip the visit.
Trump said that he and Peña Nieto had agreed to cancel the meeting, but Peña Nieto tweeted that Mexican officials had informed the White House that he would not be attending.
The chief of the Border Patrol will leave his post at the end of the month, likely the result of a change in direction by the Trump administration and a reflection of the new power of the agency's union.
Mark Morgan, the agency's head, was hired from the FBI in June to reform the force after a series of corruption allegations and problems with excessive force. He will leave the Border Patrol abruptly after seven months on the job, according to a person familiar with the decision who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Morgan's departure was first reported by the Associated Press.
Congress expects to quickly approve money for President Trump's border wall with Mexico this year, but House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) could not guarantee Thursday that Republicans won't add to the budget deficit to pay for it.
Ryan said the White House would submit the funding request "very shortly" and he promised that the GOP-led Congress would process it "before the end of the current fiscal year," which is Sept. 30. He estimated the cost at $12 billion to $15 billion, but others have put it higher.
"We have ambitious goals and ambitious timelines," Ryan said.
With President Trump mulling an executive order to restrict Muslim immigration, the resistance has begun. A hastily organized demonstration drew thousands of New Yorkers on Wednesday night to Washington Square Park, where they vowed to fight back.
Mayor Bill de Blasio also called an emergency news conference promising to protect immigrants and to challenge threatened moves by Trump to strip funding from cities that provide sanctuary.
"We're going to defend all of our people, regardless of where they come from and regardless of their documentation status," the mayor said.
President Trump is still soaking up the office — its challenges, its potential and the scrutiny. But what was also clear from his first prime-time television interview is how little has changed since he was sworn in just five days ago. Here’s some what of was revealed in Trump’s conversation Wednesday with ABC News’ David Muir.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said he rejects and condemns U.S. President Trump's plan to immediately begin construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
In a televised address Wednesday night, Peña Nieto said Mexico "does not believe in walls." His voice rising, Peña Nieto repeated his promise that Mexico "will not pay" for construction of a border barrier.
Peña Nieto is facing considerable pressure from other Mexican leaders to boycott a planned meeting with Trump in Washington next week.