Trump says 'I hope not' when asked if US troops will shoot at migrant caravan headed to border

  • President Donald Trump on Thursday said “I hope not” when asked whether the US military would shoot at thousands of migrants headed to the US-Mexico border.
  • “I hope there won’t be that, but I will tell you this – anybody throwing rocks … we will consider that a firearm, because there’s not much difference,” the president said.
  • Trump on Wednesday said as many as 15,000 troops could be stationed at the border as part of his administration’s response to the migrant caravan.

President Donald Trump on Thursday said “I hope not” when asked whether the US military would shoot at thousands of migrants headed to the US-Mexico border.

Trump also said rocks thrown at troops would be considered firearms, seemingly claiming there’s little difference between stones and bullets.

“I hope there won’t be that, but I will tell you this – anybody throwing rocks … we will consider that a firearm, because there’s not much difference,” the president added.

The US military’s operation at the US-Mexico border, known as Faithful Patriot, is expected to involve over 7,000 active-duty troops, the Department of Defence said in a statement on Wednesday.

Trump on Wednesday said as many as 15,000 troops could be stationed at the border as part of his administration’s response to the migrant caravan, which would make the number of US military personnel roughly equivalent to the number currently deployed in Afghanistan.


Read more: Trump says the US may send more troops to the US-Mexico border than the US currently has deployed to Afghanistan

Critics have labelled the operation a political “stunt,” but Defence Secretary James Mattis rejected this characterization.

The president has repeatedly suggested the caravan is full of “tough” criminals with Middle Eastern terrorists hidden among them, but has not provided evidence to back up this assertion. Many of those in the caravan appear to be women and children, based on multiple reports from journalists who’ve been following it closely.

Trump has ramped up his rhetoric on immigration in recent days as he seeks to make a strong closing argument for the Republican party ahead of the 2018 midterm elections next Tuesday.

Many of his tactics, including an ad released Wednesday falsely linking Democrats to a homicidal immigrant, have been widely condemned – even by Trump’s fellow Republicans.

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