WASHINGTON — Never mind the chants, the roars, the repetition. President Donald Trump acknowledged this past week he didn’t mean it when he told crowds over and over that Mexico would pay — actually pay — for the wall.
Mexico will pay “indirectly,” he now says. To support that claim, he indulged in creative accounting over the course of days marked by a prime-time speech, a trip to the border and a barrage of tweets painting dire threats from the south.
He said the wall will “very quickly pay for itself” by reducing the U.S. drug problem, and pay for itself “many times over” by the benefits he predicts will accrue to the U.S. economy from an updated trade deal with Canada and Mexico.
Neither of these supposed sources of wall payment dings Mexico’s treasury or imposes any cost resembling what his campaign proposed. Back then, he wanted Mexico to hand over up to $10 billion in a single payment or pay equivalent costs through higher tariffs, visa fees charged to its citizens or other punitive measures. Mexico has refused to pay anything toward a U.S. wall.
A look at Trump’s wall-to-wall rhetoric on the wall, in a week when thousands of federal workers missed their first paycheque from the partial shutdown and the president weighed the option of declaring a national emergency at the border:
TRUMP: “The Fake News Media keeps saying we haven’t built any NEW WALL. Below is a section just completed on the Border. Anti-climbing feature included. Very high, strong and beautiful! Also, many miles already renovated and in service!” — tweet Friday, showing a section of bollard wall.
THE FACTS: No new miles of barrier construction have been completed under Trump. Existing fencing has been replaced or strengthened in a few areas. It’s true that many miles of barrier are in service — about 650 miles or 1,050 kilometres of fencing — but that was done by previous administrations.
MEXICO AND THE WALL
TRUMP: “I never meant they’re going to write out a check… . Mexico is paying for the wall indirectly. And when I said Mexico will pay for the wall, in front of thousands and thousands of people, obviously they’re not going to write a check.” — remarks Thursday.
THE FACTS: A Trump campaign policy paper envisaged an explicit payment from Mexico: “It’s an easy decision for Mexico: make a one-time payment of $5-10 billion,” the paper said.
The plan outlined various ways for Trump to compel Mexico to pay for the wall, such as by Washington cutting off billions of dollars in remittances sent back to Mexico by immigrants living in the U.S., or by recouping the money through trade tariffs or higher visa fees. None of that has happened.
Although his campaign left open the possibility that Mexico might somehow contribute to the cost indirectly, Trump roused his crowds with the straight-ahead promise: “I will have Mexico pay for that wall.”
“Who?” he asked his supporters. “Mexico,” they shouted.
Now he is saying his words were not meant to be taken literally.
TRUMP: “They’re …read more
Source:: Nationalpost – News