WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump has made the construction of some 450 miles of wall on the US-Mexico border a defining issue of his presidency, and has long sworn that Mexico would pay for it.
So, naturally, Trump welcoming Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to the White House for the first time on Wednesday, it would seem that the issue is a priority.
But White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany didn’t have much to say when asked at a media availability if the wall – and Trump’s insistence that Mexico covers the component of construction in progress – stood up when the two leaders huddled.
“This discussion did not take place when I was in the room,” she said.
Trump has repeatedly incorrectly claimed that Mexico is paying for the ongoing construction of the wall.
Lopez Obrador’s predecessor, Enrique Peña Nieto, clearly stated in a May 2018 Twitter message: “Mexico will NEVER pay for a wall. Not now, never. Sincerely, Mexico (all of us). “
The money comes from the American taxpayers of today and the future heirs of the federal debt. In February, the Pentagon announced that it was cutting billions of dollars for Navy and Air Force planes and other military programs to divert money toward building the wall.
At times during his presidency, Trump sought to offer a creative argument about how Mexico pays for the wall.
One argument centers on the idea that the US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement – which Lopez Obrador was in the White House to celebrate – would spur enough additional growth over the years to cover costs. But even if that happens, something that many trade experts are skeptical of, the wall will have cost the United States money they could have used for something else.
Source: AP News