Trump pulls back from border closure threats, saying Mexico is cooperating

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSanders says he wouldn't 'drop dead' if Trump decided on universal healthcare Overnight Health Care: Trump officials lay groundwork for May reopening | Democrats ramp up talks with Mnuchin on next relief deal | Fauci says death toll could be around 60,000 Hillicon Valley: State officials push for more election funds | Coronavirus surveillance concerns ramp up pressure for privacy bill | Senators warned not to use Zoom | Agencies ask FCC to revoke China Telecom's license MORE on Tuesday evening pulled back from his threats to close the southern border, claiming that Mexico is now cooperating in apprehending migrants. 

For the "first time in decades," Trump said, Mexico had "apprehended over a thousand people" at its southern border and returned them to their home countries.

“I really wanted to close it. But now Mexico is saying, ‘No, no, no.’ First time in decades. ‘We will not let anybody get through.’ And they’ve apprehended over a thousand people at the southern border, their southern border. And they’re bringing them back to their countries," Trump said during remarks at the National Republican Congressional Committee's annual spring dinner.

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Trump earlier in the day shifted away from his threats to close the border this week, saying he would "100 percent" close the border or "close large sections of the border" if Congress didn't pass stricter immigration laws.

"If we don’t make a deal with Congress, the Mexico border’s going to be closed. 100 percent," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. "Or we’re going to close large sections of the border, maybe not all of it. But it’s the only way we’re getting a response, and I’m totally ready to do it."

The president's apparent retreat Tuesday evening came after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Former Trump advisor Bossert says to test the well, not ill; Senate standoff on next relief bill McCarthy slams Democrats on funding for mail-in balloting Harris, Ocasio-Cortez among Democrats calling for recurring direct payments in fourth coronavirus bill MORE (R-Ky.) warned Tuesday that closing the border would have a "potentially catastrophic" impact on the economy.

"We certainly have a crisis on the border. I think the president’s right about that. Closing down the border would have potentially catastrophic economic impact on our country, and I would hope we would not be doing that sort of thing," McConnell told reporters.