Trump: Mexico will pay for the border wall — ‘eventually’ and ‘in some form’

Dylan Stableford
·Senior Writer
Trump stands near the U.S. southern border, outside Laredo, Texas, last year. (Rick Wilking/Reuters)
Trump near the U.S. southern border, outside Laredo, Texas, last year. (Photo: Rick Wilking/Reuters)

President Trump says he may not approve a government funding bill this week if it does not include funding for a “badly needed border wall” that he claims Mexico, “in some form,” will “eventually” pay for.

In a pair of tweets Sunday, the president accused Democrats of withholding money from the federal budget to start building the wall he wants constructed along the U.S. southern border with Mexico.

“The Democrats don’t want money from budget going to border wall despite the fact that it will stop drugs and very bad MS 13 gang members,” Trump tweeted.

He added: “Eventually, but at a later date so we can get started early, Mexico will be paying, in some form, for the badly needed border wall.”

Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump vowed that Mexico would pay for his planned wall, despite public refusals by Mexican officials. In January, Trump announced a proposal to impose a 20 percent tax on all imported goods from Mexico to pay for the border wall, saying that the wall would initially be funded by U.S. taxpayers “for the sake of speed,” and that the country would be reimbursed by Mexico at a later date.

Last month, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was asked whether he believed Mexico would, in fact, pay for it.

“Uh, no,” the Kentucky Republican said.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have expressed their doubts.

The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that not a single member of the House or Senate representing territory on the southwest border where the wall would be built supports Trump’s funding request.

Yet the Trump administration is keying it on the Democrats, who say they will vigorously oppose money for the border wall in a new spending bill, which lawmakers must pass Friday to avoid a government shutdown.

On ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos,” U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions suggested Democrats would be to blame if the government is shut down over the wall.

“I can’t imagine the Democrats would shut down the government over an objection to building a down payment on a wall that can end the lawlessness,” Sessions said.

“So the president won’t sign the bill if it doesn’t include funding for the wall?” Stephanopoulos asked.

“Well, he’ll make those decisions,” Sessions replied. “I’m not engaged in the budget negotiations. But I know one thing: We need that wall. It will help us complete the promise that the president has made to the American people.”

On NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called the wall “immoral, expensive” and “unwise.”

“When the president says, ‘Well, I promised a wall during my campaign,’ I don’t think he said he was going to pass billions of dollars of cost of the wall on to the taxpayer,” Pelosi said.

In an interview with the Associated Press Friday, Trump was asked whether he would sign a government funding bill that does not include funding for the wall.

“I don’t know yet,” Trump said. “People want the border wall. My base definitely wants the border wall, my base really wants it — you’ve been to many of the rallies. … The thing they want more than anything is the wall.”

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