In our news wrap Thursday, an Israeli air strike along the Gaza border killed a Palestinian, making the death toll 21 in a week's worth of violence. President Trump's chief economic adviser tried to calm worries about the prospects of a trade war with China, stressing that so far the administration's has only proposed new tariffs.
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President Trump today he wants to send as many as 4,000 National Guard to secure the border with Mexico. He said it's essential to fight illegal immigration, drug smuggling, violent gangs and other crimes, including rape.
Appearing in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, he cited a caravan of migrants traveling across Mexico, and resurrected the claim he made when he announced his presidential run in 2015.
President Donald Trump:
Remember my opening remarks at Trump Tower when I opened. Everybody said, oh, he was so tough. And I used the word rape. And yesterday it came out where this journey coming up, women are raped at levels that nobody has ever seen before.
The Department of Homeland Security said it's still working with governors of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas on what the Guardsmen will do and where they will go.
We will take a closer look at the issue after the news summary.
For the first time today, the president addressed the controversy about the payment to a porn star who claims they had a sexual affair. The president said he didn't know in advance that his attorney had paid $130,000 to Stephanie Clifford, who performs as Stormy Daniels, under a nondisclosure agreement shortly before the 2016 election.
Asked why the lawyer, Michael Cohen, made the payment, the president said, "You will have to ask Michael."
Mr. Trump's chief economic adviser is trying to calm worries about a trade war with China. On Tuesday, the administration announced new tariffs on China, and, yesterday, Beijing responded with similar measures, targeting U.S. soybeans, aircraft and chemicals. That triggered concerns from farm groups and others.
But outside the White House this morning, Larry Kudlow stressed that, so far, these are only proposals.
Our intention is not to punish anybody. Our intention is to open markets and investments and lower barriers. That's the deal. It's all part of a — you know, a fairly delicate, broad-based negotiation, but it's long overdue. That's all I'm saying. We can fix this thing.
The Chinese insisted today, through their state-run news agency, that they will not back down.
An Israeli airstrike along the Gaza border killed a Palestinian today, making the death toll 21 in a week's worth of violence. Mourners carried the body in a funeral procession. The Israelis said the man was an armed terrorist. Meanwhile, another man died of his wounds from last Friday's clashes. The United Nations is urging both sides to show restraint, but more protests are expected tomorrow.
Back in this country, the president gave his guarded backing to his Environmental Protection Agency chief, Scott Pruitt. Pruitt is under an ethics cloud that includes his $50-a-night lease of a Washington, D.C., condo from the wife of an energy industry lobbyist.
Today, talking to reporters about a noisy Air Force One, the president praised Pruitt's job performance, but said he wants to look into the news report about him.
President Donald Trump:
I think that Scott has done a fantastic job. I think he's a fantastic person. You know, I just left — I just left coal and energy country. They love Scott Pruitt. They feel very strongly about Scott Pruitt. They love Scott Pruitt.
Pruitt himself told FOX News that he is dumbfounded by questions about his condo lease. He also said he doesn't think his job is in jeopardy.
Startling new numbers toy shed more light on the economic toll of the U.S. opioid epidemic. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports large employers spent $2.6 billion in 2016 to cover costs of addiction and overdoses. That's up from only $300,000 in 2004, a more than eight-fold increase. The number of opioid prescriptions has actually fallen across all major disease categories, as employees limit insurance coverage.
And on Wall Street, stocks rose on increased optimism that China and the United States can work out their trade differences. The Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 241 points to close at 24505. The Nasdaq rose 34 points, and the S&P 500 added 18.