"If Mexico doesn't give the help - that's okay - we're going to tariff their cars coming into the United States," Mr. Trump said.
"The cars are very big - and if that doesn't work, we're going to close the border," the President said. "But I think that will work - it's massive numbers of dollars."
"I'll do it," the President said bluntly. "I don't play games."
On Capitol Hill, members of both parties expressed concern about the economic impact of any move to close the border.
“Closing the border to legal commerce would be devastating to Texas,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). “Millions of jobs, in Texas and across the country, depend upon trade with Mexico, and the federal government shouldn’t do anything to jeopardize those jobs.”
“We sell lots of pork into Mexico,” said Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK). “The trade relationship between the southwestern states and Mexico is critically important.”
In his remarks on Thursday, President Trump seemingly backed off an immediate call to close the border - as he made clear a 'one year warning' was on the table for the Mexican government.
“And if the drugs don't stop - or largely stop - we're going to put tariffs on Mexico and products, in particular cars,” Mr. Trump said.
“The whole ballgame is cars,” he added.