As the partial government shutdown over border security stretches into day 20, President Donald Trump is now claiming he “never meant” that Mexico would directly pay for his long-promised border wall, despite repeatedly claiming they would.
“When, during the campaign, I would say Mexico is going to pay for it, obviously I never said this, and I never meant they’re going to write out a check,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Thursday before traveling to the southern border.
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) January 10, 2019
Yet during his 2016 campaign, Trump sent a memo to The Washington Post that said he would demand that Mexico make a “one-time payment” for the border wall if elected.
“It’s an easy decision for Mexico, make a one-time payment of $5 [billion] to $10 billion to ensure that $24 billion continues to flow into their country year after year,” Trump’s campaign said at the time. “We have the moral high ground here, and all the leverage.”
Trump added that if Mexico refused to make the payment, he would punish the country with trade tariffs, canceling visas and disbanding remittances from undocumented Mexicans in the U.S.
The memo offered to The Post was later published on Trump’s campaign website.
In a televised town hall with Fox News host Sean Hannity in April 2016, Trump said Mexico would pay for the wall “one hundred percent.”
“They’ll pay in one form or another, they might even write us a check by the time they see what happens,” Trump added.
Trump is now moving the goal posts, claiming on Thursday that Mexico will “indirectly” pay for the wall through a new trade deal that has yet to be approved by Congress.
“Mexico is paying for the wall indirectly,” Trump said. “And when I said ‘Mexico will pay for the wall’ in front thousands and thousands of people, obviously they are not going to write a check. But they are paying for the wall indirectly many, many times over by the really great trade deal we just made.”