Building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico was one of the first campaign promises made by real estate developer Donald Trump when he announced his bid for the U.S. presidency. Not only was he going to build a wall, he was going to make Mexico pay for it.
Now? Not so much.
Thursday, the president-elect’s team informed Republican Congress leaders that now The Donald would prefer that the border wall be paid for through U.S. appropriations channels starting in April.
According to CNN, Trump is now suggesting that we build the wall, and then have Mexico reimburse the U.S. for the cost.
In a clear backtrack of his main campaign promise, Trump then defended this “new” approach on Friday with a post on Twitter, saying:
‘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!’
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2017
Republican Rep. Chris Collins backed up Trump’s statement by telling Alisyn Camerota on CNN show New Day:
‘When you understand that Mexico’s economy is dependent upon US consumers, Donald Trump has all the cards he needs to play.
‘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.’
Collins said he was confident that Trump would be able to convince Mexico to pay back the cost of the wall if the American taxpayers put up the initial capital.
According to POLITICO, the cost of the border wall could cost up to $14 billion for the construction alone. There would be a variety of additional and regular expenses including the purchase of property from landowners, maintenance, and manning expenses.
The Trump team claims that a Bush era law from 2006 gives them the authority to build the wall, and they have told senior GOP House members they’d like have the billions of dollars to do so included in the upcoming funding bill to support the decade-old law.
The spending bill needs to pass by April 28 to keep the government open, but it also leaves the Republicans vulnerable to a showdown with Democratic senators and a possible government shutdown.
Republican Rep. Luke Messer compared the cost of the wall to a $10 billion border security bill proposed by Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul last year to justify the cost. He also admitted that:
‘Democrats may well find themselves in the position to shut down all of government to stop the buildout of a wall, or of a barrier, or of a fence.’
‘We still got a few months before there’s another funding bill that’s going to move. We’re going to work with him to make sure we can get it done.
‘We want to build a wall. He wants to build a wall.’
Watch the video from CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 for more details.
Featured image via Getty Images