Trump Puts His Foot Down

Grind for October 26th, 2018
“The less we deserve good fortune, the more we hope for it.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Not Joking

The Headline

Trump doubles down on his threat to send the US military to the border to stop migrant caravan

The Grind

President Trump on Wednesday reiterated his threat to use military force to stop the caravan of Honduran migrants headed for the US.

“You have some very tough criminal elements within the caravan,” said Trump. “But I will seal off the border before they come into this country, and I’ll bring out our military – not our reserves – I’ll bring out our military.”

The Details

Trump’s threat follows reports of a massive caravan of Honduran migrants seeking to enter the US via Mexico. Two weeks ago, Trump demanded Mexico take action to block the migrants from reaching the US.

In addition to ‘calling up the military,’ Trump threatened to close the southern border, pull out of the finalized proposal for NAFTA 2.0, and cut foreign aid to Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

Mexico responded by offering asylum for all who qualify, and is currently working with the UN to process applications.

Unfortunately, most of the migrants seem determined to reach the United States. When they were told that only 100-200 people would be allowed into Mexico each day, migrants tore down a border fence and attacked police with rocks and bottles. Others crossed into Mexico on makeshift rafts.

Trump on Twitter urged voters to associate the caravan with Democratic voters:

“Every time you see a Caravan, or people illegally coming…into our Country illegally, think of and blame the Democrats for not giving us the votes to change our pathetic Immigration Laws! Remember the Midterms!”

As noted by New York Post author Michael Goodwin, the caravan will have a major impact on the midterm elections.

The caravan is a reminder that “21 months into Trump’s presidency, our southern border is still Swiss cheese,” notes Goodwin. “The caravan reflects a neat narrative of the president’s policies and Dems’ resistance, and has to be considered a political plus for the GOP,” but could backfire if the situation ends up with US military confronting women and children at the border.

According to reports, there are as many as 7,000 migrants heading for the US-Mexico border.

Serves You Right

The Headline

Trump Administration sanctions 21 Saudi officials

The Grind

The Trump Administration on Tuesday announced sanctions on 21 Saudi officials believed to have been involved in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Those singled out for punishment – including members of the royal court, the intelligence services, and the foreign ministry – will essentially be blocked from entering the US.

“These penalties will not be the last word on this matter from the US,” promised Sec. of State Mike Pompeo. “We will continue to explore additional measures to hold those responsible accountable.”

The Details

Trump has been hesitant to criticize Riyadh even after officials confirmed Mr. Khashoggi had been killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

When asked about the killing, Trump said: “It should never have been in the thought process. But once it was done, it was done horribly and it certainly seems to me to have been covered up horribly.”

After speaking with Prince Salman – who has repeatedly denied involvement in the murder – Trump said that he wanted to believe him. Trump also made it clear he would not be canceling lucrative weapons deals with the kingdom.

The criticism from Turkey has been more severe.

“All the responsible people, from the lowest to the highest rank, should be uncovered and held accountable before the law,” said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday, who insists Khashoggi was killed on orders from the Saudi government.

Erdogan claims he is in possession of “strong evidence that this murder was planned,” but has so far failed to reveal it. In response to US sanctions, Erdogan said it was impossible to blame Khashoggi’s murder “on a few security and intelligence officials.”

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