- The Washington Times - Friday, November 2, 2018

President Trump said Friday that U.S. troops would arrest illegal migrants if they attack authorities at the border, and downplayed the possibility of the military firing upon them.

A day after Mr. Trump told The Washington Times that he would allow the military to use force “in a heartbeat,” the president told reporters that he hopes any confrontations won’t reach that point.

“They won’t have to fire,” the president said. “I don’t want these people throwing rocks. What they did to the Mexican military is a disgrace. They were throwing rocks in their faces. It’s not going to happen to our soldiers. They do that with us, they’re going to be arrested for a long time. I didn’t say ‘shoot.’”

Pressed on the issue of troops using force, he said, “I hope they won’t. We’re going to see.”

On Thursday, Mr. Trump had said, “They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back.”

The president has deployed about 5,200 troops to the southern border to serve in a support role for Border Patrol and other law-enforcement agents. He has said he hopes to send as many as 15,000 troops to the border to stop caravans of thousands of migrants heading to the U.S. from Central America.

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