Trump said all throughout his campaign that Mexico would pay for the border wall, and now he's starting to back away from that statement.
Donald Trump hasn’t even assumed the presidency yet and already his critics are claiming he is making a big flip-flop on his core issue: that the U.S. will build a border wall and Mexico will pay for it.
As it turns out, Congress is paying for it, which means U.S. taxpayers are paying for it, according to various media reports that indicate Trump’s transition team has told congressional Republican leaders to start funding the border wall as soon as April through the appropriations process. And it’s doubtful that Trump has gotten a check from the Mexican government yet.
His campaign hit back on claims that this was a flip flop, arguing that Mexico would pay for it “eventually,” but that’s certainly not what Trump said during the campaign, and many observers say this looks like an early attempt to back away at one many criticized as an impossible task.
Trump’s response on Twitter was that the media was not reporting the truth: “The dishonest media does not report that any money spent on building the Great Wall (for sake of speed), will be paid back by Mexico later!”
It’s still not completely clear how Trump will compel Mexico to pay for what will be an extremely expensive border wall, but his proponents have said it would be through negotiations due to Mexico’s dependency on U.S. consumers.
“When you understand that Mexico’s economy is dependent upon US consumers, Donald Trump has all the cards he needs to play,” New York Rep. Chris Collins, congressional liaison for the Trump transition team, said in an appareance on CNN. “On the trade negotiation side, I don’t think it’s that difficult for Donald Trump to convince Mexico that it’s in their best interest to reimburse us for building the wall.”
Mexican leaders have repeatedly scoffed at the notion that they would be made to pay for the wall. It was the central focus of Trump’s campaign and what launched his candidacy to the top of the ticket, and eventually the presidency.