Early on in his campaign, President-elect Donald Trump caused eyebrows across the country to raise when he made a promise that he would build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. This promise became even more questionable when Trump announced that he would not only build the wall, but would also make Mexico pay for it.
Trump and his team are still clinging to that promise; however, many Capitol Hill Republicans doubt that it will actually come to pass.
CNN spoke with several Republican Senators and Representatives who expressed doubts that Trump would be able to make good on his promise.
Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, the longest-serving Senate Republican, said about Mexico, “I doubt that they’re going to pay for it.” He added, “There’s a lot he could do if he wanted to (force Mexico’s hand). In all honesty, I don’t think that’s going to happen.”
Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman also said that he never believed Trump would build his wall in the first place. He explained, “I never thought that would happen. I thought it was a gimmick.”
If Trump is, in fact, unable to keep his promise, Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks told CNN that many Americans, including him, would be “disappointed.” Brooks said:
‘I’m for building a wall, and I’m for Donald Trump keeping his promise to the American people that Mexico pay for it.’
Based on recent reports, it seems that Brooks and others who believed Trump’s promises are going to be disappointed after all. Trump’s transition team has encouraged Republican leaders to make room for funding the wall, which could end up costing over $10 billion, in a spending package that must pass by April 28.
However, Trump still refuses to admit that he couldn’t make his promise happen. He claimed yesterday that Mexico will reimburse the United States for the cost of the wall. Trump explained during a phone interview with The New York Times:
‘We’re going to get reimbursed, but I don’t want to wait that long. But you start, and then you get reimbursed.’
Trump also told The Times that he would negotiate the payments at the same time that he works with Mexico’s government to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, a deal that he says “never should have been signed.”
Naturally, Senate and House Republicans have had mixed responses to Trump’s newest declaration. According to Texas Senator John Cornyn, for example, there is a lot of confusion in Mexico over Trump’s wall, confusion that could potentially have a negative impact on trade.
Cornyn explained, “Well right now, they’re pretty uncertain as to what all of this means.” He also encouraged Trump’s nominee for secretary of the treasury, Steve Mnuchin, to “make sure there aren’t any unintended consequences of this” because “about 6 million American jobs depend on cross-border trade with Mexico.”
Virginia Rep. Dave Brat was also skeptical about Trump being able to convince Mexico to reimburse the U.S. for the wall. He told CNN that he does not believe the reimbursement will come “in some big, they’re going to hand us a big check kind-of-way.” However, he does believe that “there’ll be a policy in place where we can compensate the cost they’re imposing.”
Based on reactions from Capitol Hill Republicans, coupled with the obvious pushback he has received from Democratic legislators, it seems safe to say that Trump has his work cut out for him when it comes to building his wall.
Featured image via John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images.