President Obama said he is "getting questions" from world leaders about "some of the more wackier suggestions" being made by Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. Obama held a press availability in the White House briefing room Tuesday afternoon where he said Trump is damaging relationships with foreign countries.
QUESTION: Mr. President. The Republican frontrunner today outlined his plan--
OBAMA: Oh, no.
QUESTION: --to pay for the border wall by taxing money sent to Mexico by foreign undocumented immigrants in the U.S. sending money back home. What would be the real implications of this plan, and is it possible that Donald Trump is already doing damage to our relations with Mexico?
OBAMA: The answer to the latter question is yes.
I think that I have been very clear earlier that I am getting questions constantly from foreign leaders about some of the wackier suggestions that are being made. I do have to emphasize that it is not just Mr. Trump's proposals. You're also hearing concerns about Mr. Cruz's proposals, which in some ways are just as draconian.
The implications with respect to ending remittances, which by the way are from legal immigrants --individuals who are sending money back to their families are enormous.
First of all, they're impractical. We just talked about the difficulties in trying to enforce huge outflows of capital. The notion that we are going to track every Western Union bit of money being sent to Mexico. Good luck with that.
Then we've got the issue of the implications for the Mexican economy. Which, in turn, if it is collapsing actually sends more immigrants North because they can't find jobs in Mexico. But this is just one more example of something that is not thought through, and put forward for political consumption.
And as I've tried to emphasize throughout, we've got serious problems here. We've got big issues around the world.
People expect the president of the U.S. and elected officials in this country to treat these problems seriously...
They don't expect half-baked notions coming out of the White House.