Remember when Donald Trump said that “we will build a great wall along the southern border — and Mexico will pay for the wall”?
Well, turns out it’s a bit more complicated.
Although the president-elect uttered that promise numerous times during his presidential campaign, including at an Aug. 31 rally in Phoenix, Arizona, the 70-year-old clarified things a bit on Friday when he tweeted that Americans will actually have to dole out the cash for the border wall — and wait for Mexico to reimburse them.
In an early morning tweet on Friday targeted to the “dishonest media,” Trump explained that “any money spent on building the Great Wall (for sake of speed) will be paid back by Mexico later!”
He appeared to be responding to headlines Thursday that his administration would seek taxpayer funding for the project, signaling to congressional Republican leaders that they could use the appropriations process to fund the wall.
Trump’s team and Republican leaders are reportedly asking Congress for new money that could put into effect a law that was signed by President George W. Bush in 2006. Though it was never implemented, the law had authorized the construction of a 700 mile-plus “physical barrier” on the southern border, CNN reported.
The appropriations process could begin as soon as April, House Republican officials told CNN.
New York Rep. Chris Collins, a congressional liaison for the Trump transition team, told CNN’s New Day that while American taxpayers would pay for the wall out of their pockets, Trump would get the money back.
“Of course we have to pay the bills, we’re building the wall,” he said.” Ultimately though that’s a negotiation the president will have with Mexico to determine whether or not they will reimburse us. But I can tell you the mood of Congress is, regardless of what we do, we need to secure our borders and the wall is part of it.”
“When you understand that Mexico’s economy is dependent upon U.S. consumers, Donald Trump has all the cards he needs to play,” he added. “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.”
Senior adviser Kellyanne Conway stood by Trump during her appearance on Fox & Friends Friday, saying the president-elect is not going back on his promise.
“He is going to build that wall, and Mexico is going to pay for it,” she said. “That has not changed.”
Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto said during Trump’s campaign that his country had no intention of paying for the wall. Trump said he and the Mexican president never discussed the matter during their Aug. 31 meeting.