President Trump tore into Democratic congressional leaders Thursday after heeding their calls to end family separations at the border, while reserving choice words for Mexico -- which he accused of “taking our money and sending us drugs.”
Trump made his withering remarks ahead of a Cabinet meeting at the White House. While he officially invited Democrats to the White House to discuss immigration reform, he lambasted “extremist, open border” lawmakers and accused them of obstruction.
The president has been navigating a whirlwind week, responding to national bipartisan outrage over the practice of separating illegal immigrant families by signing an executive order Wednesday stopping it. But Democrats reacted with new demands that the administration curb detentions, leading Trump to cast them as hypocrites given past statements in support of strong borders.
"It's a whole big con job,” he said. “In the meantime, people are suffering because of the Democrats."
As lawmakers in the House mull over a number of immigration proposals that would include a more permanent fix to stop the separation of families, Trump said it would come to naught if Democrats cannot provide the votes in the Senate to get over the 60-vote threshold to break a filibuster.
“It takes two to tango,” he said, before accusing Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., of not caring about the children and choosing instead only to obstruct.
“[Pelosi and Schumer] don't care about the children...they don't care about the problems. They don't care about anything. All they do is say, 'Obstruct and let's see how we do’ because they have no policies that are any good,” he said.
Schumer responded to Trump’s remarks in a tweet, saying that he had backed a bill that would provide “$40 billion for border security and would have been far more effective than the wall.”
But Trump was particularly angry at Mexico, through which many migrants travel before claiming asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“They walk through Mexico like it’s walking through Central Park, it’s ridiculous,” he said. “Mexico does nothing for us.”
He referenced the North American Free Trade (NAFTA) agreement and said one of the reasons he was so tough on it, in addition to it being a “terrible deal” for the U.S., was because of the country’s inaction in helping the U.S. combat illegal immigration.
“They encourage people, frankly, to walk through Mexico and go into the United States because they are drug traffickers, they’re human child traffickers, they’re coyotes,” he said. “We’re getting some real beauties.”
“Mexico is doing nothing for us except taking our money and sending us drugs and doing nothing,” he added.”
The remarks were reminiscent of Trump’s infamous 2015 campaign launch where he accused Mexico of not “sending their best.”
“They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people,” he said at Trump Tower.