President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he would consider sending “anywhere from 2,000 to 4,000” National Guard troops to the southern border. This was the first time Trump added a number to his surprise announcement made earlier this week that military forces would be deployed to aid with border security.
The president said the administration is still looking at how much the deployment might cost, but that he has a “pretty good idea.”
Trump insisted the troops would stay on the border until his proposed border wall is complete.
Trump answered some of the questions surrounding this announcement, and the Department of Defense answered even more on Thursday. They announced that the National Guard’s efforts for border security would include “aviation, engineer, surveillance, communications, vehicle maintenance and logistics support.”
“These National Guard members will act in support of Border Patrol agents who are performing law enforcement duties,” Chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White said in a statement.
White House officials admitted that they were caught off-guard by the President’s statement at a lunch with Baltic leaders that “we’re going to be guarding our border with the military.” At first, there were no answers about the size, cost or length of the deployment over the past two days.
The range of 2,000 to 4,000 troops has precedent. President George W. Bush sent 6,000 National Guard troops to assist with border security in 2006. And President Barack Obama sent 1,200 in 2011.Those two operations cost more than $1.3 billion combined.
Trump rebuffed criticism saying that the deployment was unnecessary by tweeting that the level of illegal traffic on America’s southern border is “UNACCEPTABLE,” regardless of the fact that it’s at a 46-year-low, thanks to his administration.
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Credit: Daily Mail