U.S. President-elect Donald Trumphas insisted that Mexico would pay for the border wall and refuted reports to the contrary.
Trump, in a tweet on Friday, lashed out at the media for reports suggesting he was going back on a campaign vow to make Mexico pay for a border wall with the U.S.
Trump called the reports “dishonest” and suggested the U.S. would only be putting up money for the “sake of speed” — and vowed Mexico would eventually pay it back.
“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!” Trump tweeted.
His tweet suggested that Mexico would reimburse American taxpayers for any money Washington spends up front.
There are reports that Trump is considering a plan to ask Congress to ensure money is available in U.S. coffers for the wall, while relying on existing law that already authorises fencing and other technology along the southern border.
The funding development was reportedly a reversal by Trump on his promise to stick Mexico with the bill.
Senior adviser Kellyanne Conway confirmed on “Fox & Friends” that Trump wants Mexico to pay back any costs shouldered by the U.S. and that he was not going back on his promise.
“He is going to build that wall, and Mexico is going to pay for it. That has not changed,” Conway insisted.
It remains unclear how the Trump administration would compel Mexico to pay, as America’s southern neighbour has shown no intention of doing so.
In the near-term, the push to rely on existing law authorising a border fence could stave off a legislative fight that Trump might lose if he tried to get Congress to pass a measure authorising the kind of border wall he promised during the campaign.
Trump’s vow to build an impenetrable, concrete wall along the southern border was his signature campaign proposal.
“Build the wall!” supporters would chant at his rallies.
“Who’s going to pay for it?” Trump would ask them and they would respond: “Mexico!”
Trump often promised the wall would be built of hardened concrete, rebar and steel as tall as his venues’ ceilings, and would feature a “big, beautiful door’’ to allow legal immigrants to enter.
Most experts viewed such promises as unrealistic and impractical, and Trump himself sometimes allowed that the wall would not need to span the entire length of the border, thanks to natural barriers like rivers.
However, after winning the election, the incoming president said he would be open to stretches of fencing.