In his first one-on-one television interview since he was sworn in as president on Friday, Donald Trump insisted once again that Mexico would pay for his proposed border wall — despite the country’s repeated declarations that it will not fund the structure.
In a preview of the interview set to air Wednesday night, Trump tells ABC News anchor David Muir that Mexico will pay for the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and that negotiations between the two countries will begin “relatively soon.”
“Ultimately, it will come out of what’s happening with Mexico … and we will be in a form reimbursed by Mexico, which I’ve always said,” Trump says in the clip.
During the interview, which took place at the White House Wednesday morning, Trump said that construction on the wall would begin within “months,” using U.S. taxpayer dollars. He added that Mexico would “100 percent” reimburse that money in the future.
“All it is, is we’ll be reimbursed at a later date from whatever transaction we make from Mexico,” he said. “I’m just telling you there will be a payment. It will be in a form, perhaps a complicated form. What I’m doing is good for the United States. It’s also going to be good for Mexico. We want to have a very stable, very solid Mexico.”
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“As soon as we can, as soon as we can physically do it,” he added of when construction would begin. “I would say in months, yeah. I would say in months — certainly planning is starting immediately.”
The president signed an executive order on Wednesday to start construction on the wall project using federal funds. Visiting the Department of Homeland Security later in the day, the president told government workers: “A nation without borders is not a nation. Beginning today, the United States of America gets back control as it gets back its borders.”
Trump also hinted in the interview that he may bring back waterboarding, saying that “people at the highest level of intelligence” have told him that torture is effective. Military experts have refuted this.
“When ISIS is doing things that no one has ever heard of, since medieval times, would I feel strongly about waterboarding?” Trump said. “As far as I’m concerned, we have to fight fire with fire.” He later added, however, that he would listen to his Cabinet secretaries’ advice on the issue.
“President Trump: The First Interview” with David Muir will air Wednesday night at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.