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Trump contradicts Pence on Honduras' role stalling migrant caravans

Posted at 6:15 PM, Jan 23, 2019

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that "Honduras is doing nothing" to stop migrant caravans from coming toward the US, less than a day after Vice President Mike Pence praised Honduras for its efforts to stop caravans.

"Honduras is doing nothing for us. Guatemala is doing nothing for us. El Salvador is doing nothing for us," Trump said during a White House roundtable on immigration.

The President has been a frequent critic of granting foreign aid to Central American countries and has threatened to pull foreign aid to Honduras in response to previous migrant caravans. In Trump's first two years in office, the administration significantly reeled back foreign aid to those countries.

Trump also said the US should give foreign aid to Central American countries "because when caravans form in the middle of the country, the country could very easily stop those caravans from forming."

He then claimed, without evidence, that the Central American countries "encourage the caravans because they want to get rid of the people from their country."

The President also took direct aim at Honduras later in the roundtable, saying: "The caravan, they're saying, is massive. The caravan that's coming up. Thank you very much, Honduras."

"We send Honduras hundreds of millions of dollars and they send us caravans," Trump added.

But less than 24 hours earlier, Pence praised Honduras' efforts to stop the caravan, according to the White House.

"Pence commended President Hernandez for the proactive and vigorous response to the most recent migrant caravans, including the arrest of several organizers, and encouraged Honduras and other Northern Triangle countries to redouble their efforts," according to a readout of the phone call with Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez provided by Pence's office.

"The two leaders also discussed opportunities to work together to fight against illegal gangs and improve the security and prosperity of people in Central America and the United States. The vice president reiterated the United States' commitment to building a closer relationship with the Hernandez Administration and disavowed any efforts by opportunistic political actors to distract from our priorities," the readout added.

A week before Pence's call with Hernandez, Trump had not reached the same conclusion, saying in a speech in Louisiana to that Honduras could stop migrant caravans from heading toward the US.

"Honduras is not helping us. They could stop it," he said.