Trump Backtracks, Says Taxpayers, Not Mexico, Will Pay For His Wall

After more than a year of half-baked promises to stick the bill for his “big, beautiful, powerful” Southern border wall with the Mexican government, members of Trump’s transition team have admitted that the centerpiece of the president-elect’s campaign was built on an obvious, impossible lie.

Citing a “senior House GOP source,” CNN reports that “Trump's transition team has signaled to congressional Republican leaders that his preference is to fund the border wall through the appropriations process as soon as April.” Experts have put the price tag for the wall anywhere from several billion to $14 billion, according to Politico, a figure that leaves out necessary costs from “maintenance to border patrol agents to purchasing private property from Texas landowners.” By tapping Congress for funds, Trump’s team has finally come clean about the fact that American tax dollars will be poured into a wasteful, unnecessary and inefficient project likely to worsen relations with our neighbors to the south.

According to CNN, House Republicans and members of Trump’s team plan to use a 2006 bill signed by President George W. Bush which granted permission for construction of a barrier along the border. Though that dormant legislation currently lacks necessary funding to fulfill Trump’s xenophobic vision, a cash infusion by Congress—provided by American taxpayers—would underwrite construction.

“There’s already in existing law the authorization for hundreds of miles of build-out on the southern, one important step in the right direction will be funding the existing law and beginning the building out of hundreds of miles of wall, or fence, on the southern border,“ Luke Messer, a House Republican from Indiana, told Politico. “If tied to the rest of government funding, it’s much harder for the Democrats to stop, and by the way, I think it’s much harder for Democrats to vote against it if what you’re doing is authorizing funding for an existing law.”

Anticipating pushback from Democrats, Republicans have pointed to the fact that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton voted in favor of the bill as senators. Chuck Schumer, who recently assumed the role of Senate Minority Leader, also voted for passage of the legislation at the time. Since refusing to fund the wall could require Democratis to shut down the government, Republicans are basically betting that their opponents will be reluctant to take such a high-stakes political stance.

Trump took to Twitter Friday morning to quash reality, blaming the press for reporting on his team's confession that the border wall will ultimately be yet another fabrication and failure. In his early-morning tweet, Trump claimed that taxpayer money to build the wall is a short-term loan that the Mexican government will be happy to reimburse. This isn't the first time he's made such a ludicrous claim, though it hasn't gotten any more believable upon repeat.

Earlier this year, Trump released a memo stating he would compel Mexico to “make a one-time payment of $5-10 billion” to cover the cost of the wall. If the country refused, according to the strategy, Trump would seize remittances sent by undocumented Mexican workers to their families and loved ones back home. It was a mess of a plan that legal experts and rational observers said was clearly unworkable. Trump supporters, on the other hand, wholeheartedly bought the idea, and “Build the wall” became a mandatory chant at Trump rallies. After the election, white students from Michigan to Texas—presumably, kids of Trump supporters—used the chant to taunt Hispanic students.

Trump supporters will defer to Trump’s surrogates about how to deal with the massive lie their president-elect knowingly peddled throughout the campaign. The likelihood that they’ve been had by a party furiously working to take away their Medicare, Medicaid and health care while using their money to build (if it ever really gets that far) a bad idea into reality will be lost on them.

For people across Twitter, including political pundits of all stripes, the point was clear.


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