By Emily Tamkin, The Washington Post
To get Mexico to bend to the will of the United States, the U.S. president threatened to close the southern border.
That president was Richard M. Nixon, and the year was 1969.
This past Friday, President Trump took to Twitter to threaten to close the U.S.-Mexico border, “or large sections of the Border,” in the next week if Mexico “doesn’t immediately stop ALL illegal immigration coming into the United States throug our Southern Border.” On Sunday, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney seemingly seconded the president, saying on ABC News’s “This Week” that it would take “something dramatic” to keep the president from closing the border. …
Such a move would create chaos in border communities and disrupt trade worth more than $1 billion a day. But it would also, to use the president’s parlance, suggest that he is “not playing games.”
Political symbolism is similarly thought to have been the motivating factor for Nixon’s Operation Intercept.
Photo: Mani Albrecht, U.S. Customs and Border Protection