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Mattis reacts to claims that sending troops to border is a 'political stunt': 'We don't do stunts

Defense Secretary James Mattis says that sending a plethora of troops to the U.S.-Mexico border is not a political stunt, ahead of ahead of Tuesday's midterm elections. (Image source: Fox News video screenshot)

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis insisted that the Department of Defense doesn't engage in doing "stunts."

Mattis' remarks came after a reporter questioned whether the deployment of thousands of active-duty troops being deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border was a "political stunt" ahead of Tuesday's midterm elections, Fox News reported.

What are the details?

Mattis explained that there's no ulterior motives occurring within the department.

He added that the active-duty deployment was an effort to provide "practical support" to the Department of Homeland Security, as requested by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

"The support that we provide to the Secretary for Homeland Security is practical [and] support-based on the request from the commissioner of custom to border police," Mattis said. "We don't do stunts in this department, thank you."

He added, "We're there in support of the Secretary of Homeland Security, who needs additional military assistance. We do this following storms, we do this in support of the Department of Homeland Security. This is a different aspect of it, but this is what we're doing."

Initially, the president ordered several hundred troops to attend to the approaching migrant caravan, which emerged from Central America and is weaving its way through Mexico toward the U.S. border.

The number quickly increased to 5,000. On Wednesday, President Donald Trump said that as many as 15,000 troops could be sent to the border. The active-duty troops are in addition to the 2,000 National Guardsmen that have been in place for the previous six months.

What else did President Trump say?

Trump told Fox News' Laura Ingraham on Monday night that the caravan is simply "not coming in" and that his administration would be willing to build tent cities in order to house asylum-seekers.

"We're going to have tents, they're going to be very nice, and [the migrants are] going to wait, and if they don't get asylum, they get out," Trump explained.

In remarks Wednesday night, Trump said, "I'm not fearmongering at all. Immigration is a very important subject. The Democrats have let immigration in our country get out of control with their horrible ... not allowing us to have any votes get past.

"As far as the caravan," the president continued, "which is very dangerous, you see what's been happening as far as the caravan is concerned. Our military is out, we have about 5,000, [8,000], we'll go up to anywhere between [10,000] and 15,000 military personnel on top of Border Patrol, ICE, and everybody else at the border.

“Nobody’s coming in,” he added. “We’re not allowing people to come in.”

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