In a typically off-the-rails press spray before he headed to the border for a photo-op in his continued effort to rally public support for a border wall, President Donald Trump on Thursday insisted that he actually “never said” his repeated promise that Mexico would directly pay for the wall.
“Obviously, I never said this and I never meant they’re going to write out a check,” Trump told reporters. “I said they’re going to pay for it. They are.”
The president claimed that he always meant that the United States’ southern neighbor would pay for the wall through the renegotiated NAFTA deal while further noting that the wall would “pay for itself every three or four months and maybe even better than that.”
TRUMP: "When during the campaign I would say Mexico is going to pay for [the wall], obviously I never meant they are going to write out a check. I said they are are going to pay for it. They are. They are paying for it w/the incredible [unapproved] deal we made called the USMCA." pic.twitter.com/YVCrSQty2v
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 10, 2019
To call this gaslighting would be an insult to that term. Besides making it an oft-repeated feature of his campaign rallies, the president put in writing specific policies during the 2016 presidential race that promised Mexico would literally write a check to the United States to help pay for the wall.
Trump has seven issues on his website. One of the seven is making Mexico pay for the wall. pic.twitter.com/3QtRInOGdr
— Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) August 31, 2016
That section of Trump’s campaign website was titled “COMPELLING MEXICO TO PAY FOR THE WALL” and stated that the Trump administration would demand a “one-time payment of $5-10 billion to ensure that $24 billion continues to flow into their country year after year.” The Trump campaign further said that they would receive additional funds from Mexico from the wall via “remittance payments derived from illegal wages,” increase fees on visas and raise tariffs.
Well, it didn’t take long for reporters, journalists and observers to take the president to task for spreading this obvious lie.
Trump's claim that he never called for Mexico to make a direct border wall payment to the US is blatantly false.
In April 2016, he unveiled a plan demanding Mexico "make a one-time payment of $5 to $10 billion," or face a series of sanctions designed to extract the funds anyway.
— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) January 10, 2019
Something not often discussed about Trump's "make Mexico pay for the wall" pledge is that he had threatened to do so with a bunch of specific policies that went absolutely nowhere. From his 2016 campaign site: https://t.co/5z7p76in1k pic.twitter.com/KF1I8RoI1K
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) January 10, 2019
Trump TODAY on Mexico paying for a wall: "I never said this and I never meant they're going to write out a check."
Trump campaign website, AUGUST 2016: "It's an easy decision for Mexico: make a one-time payment of $5-10 billion…" pic.twitter.com/3Wt6iJGvCc
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) January 10, 2019
— Simon Maloy (@SimonMaloy) January 10, 2019
FWIW, here's the plan to pay for the wall as listed on Trump's campaign site. The plan was to ask Mexico to make "a one-time payment of $5-
10 billion."https://t.co/mEtuVyg0cY (h/t @TheVeritable) pic.twitter.com/D8mgmq3odz
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) January 10, 2019
Lots of us pressed repeatedly in 2016 on how Mexico pays. No clear answer. In late 2015 Trump team releases paper saying higher visa fees/fining remittances.
It wasn’t exactly feasible or sensible. At rallies, the implication was always something simple like cutting a check. https://t.co/S3I0fBN7md
— Katy Tur (@KatyTurNBC) January 10, 2019
And for the record, Trump did literally say he would get Mexico to write a $5-10 billion check for the wall by threatening $24 billion in money Mexican nationals repatriate from the US to Mexico: https://t.co/MyCjIyuLjm
— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) January 10, 2019
The president wants you confused. I will make this very clear:
1. He said Mexico would pay for the wall.
2. Mexico is not paying for the wall.
3. He wants you to pay for the wall. https://t.co/5cTRZFQmVk
— Ron Fournier (@ron_fournier) January 10, 2019
Politico tweeted out a fact-check that pointed out Trump’s assertion that a new trade deal with Mexico would pay for the wall was incorrect, as any gains from would go to private companies and individuals.
Trump repeated his claim that Mexico is “paying for the wall indirectly many, many times over by the really great trade deal we just made.”
— POLITICO (@politico) January 10, 2019
CNN’s Jim Sciutto, meanwhile, called the whole thing “Orwellian.”
In the Orwellian category, Trump just said “I never said this” when asked about his repeated promises Mexico will pay for the wall.
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) January 10, 2019