President Trump claimed Thursday that he didn’t really mean it when he repeatedly promised on the campaign trail in 2016 that Mexico would pay for a wall along the border.
At nearly every rally and in almost all television interviews he took part in, Trump pledged to his supporters that Mexico would be footing the bill for the barrier.
He encouraged the crowds that fawned over him to shout “Mexico!” whenever he asked them who would be paying for his long-promised partition.
On Thursday, Trump did his best to deny the fan favorite was meant in earnest.
“When during the campaign, I would say ‘Mexico is going to pay for it,’ obviously, I never said this, and I never meant they’re gonna write out a check, I said they’re going to pay for it. They are,” he said as departed the White House for an afternoon trip to McAllen, Texas for a roundtable on border security.
However, Trump’s campaign clearly outlined how the political upstart envisioned he would compel Mexico to pay “$5-10 billion” to fund a wall.
The implication in the details of the policy was that the Trump administration would raise fees on visas and bar undocumented Mexican immigrants from wiring money back home, forcing Mexico to hand over cash for a “big, beautiful wall.”
An April 2016 memo outlined the plan.
“It’s an easy decision for Mexico,” the memo read. “Make a one-time payment of $5-10 billion to ensure that $24 billion continues to flow into their country year after year.”
The President is now trying to get taxpayers to shoulder the cost, shutting down the government and leaving 800,000 employees without pay as he refuses to sign off on any spending measure from Congress unless it includes funds for a wall.
Throughout his tenure in the White House, Trump has amended his stance on how the wall will be funded several times.
Trump tweeted shortly before his inauguration that taxpayers might have to initially pay for the “Great Wall (for sake of speed)” but vowed it “will be paid back by Mexico later!”
“Mexico will pay for it through reimbursement/other,” he tweeted in August 2017.
“The Wall will be paid for, directly or indirectly, or through longer term reimbursement, by Mexico,” he added in January 2018.
Trump on Thursday also repeated him claim Thursday that Mexico would somehow be forced to fund the wall through a renegotiated trade deal.
“(T)hey are paying for the wall indirectly many, many times over by the really great trade deal we just made,” he said.