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Trump says military "won't have to fire" on caravan members if they throw rocks

President Trump told reporters Friday the military "won't have to fire" on migrants if they throw rocks at the military or other federal officials at the border. The day before, Mr. Trump said he wanted the military to treat any rocks thrown at them like a "rifle," and act accordingly. 

The president seemed to dial back his rhetoric on Friday, saying he hopes the military doesn't have to fire on members of the caravan approaching the U.S. Some members of the caravan threw rocks at the Mexican military, prompting Mr. Trump's claim Thursday that the military should treat rocks like weapons.

"We will consider that the maximum that we can consider that because they're throwing rocks viciously and violently," he said Thursday. "You saw that three days ago. Really hurting the military. We're not going to put up with that. They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back. We're going to consider it, and I told them consider it a rifle. When they throw rocks like they did at the Mexico military and police I say consider it a rifle."

Mr. Trump has focused his energy on U.S. immigration laws and cracking down on illegal immigration in the days ahead of the midterms. His proposals include, among other things, sending up to 15,000 troops to the border. On Friday, the president said anyone who throws rocks will simply be "arrested."

"No, they won't have to fire," the president said. "What I don't want is I don't want these people throwing rocks. It's turned out, in fact it was just announced by Homeland Security, you have in just certain areas over 300 people that they know are trouble. What they did to the Mexican military is a disgrace. They hit them with rocks and some of them are very seriously injured and they were throwing rocks in their face. They do that, they're going to be arrested. There's going to be problems."

"I didn't say shoot," Mr. Trump added Friday. "I didn't say shoot, but they do that with us, they're going to be arrested for a long time."

In the last week, the president has claimed he will end birthright citizenship and the ability to apply for asylum other than at designated points of entry. On Friday, the president said the Supreme Court will decide the issue birthright citizenship, which he hopes to terminate either through executive order or Congress. 

"You know who's going to determine that? The Supreme Court of the United States," Mr. Trump said. "The Supreme Court will, the Supreme Court will determine that."

  • Kathryn Watson

    Kathryn Watson is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.