President Donald Trump insisted on Monday that he still expects the nation of Mexico to pay for a wall on America’s southern border and emphasized that it’s needed to stem the ‘scourge’ of illegal narcotics flowing northward.
In a joint press conference with Finland’s president Sauli Niinistö, Trump insisted that while Congress is in a pitched battle over billions in funding for the wall’s construction, ‘Mexico will pay’ in the end.
‘It may be through reimbursement, but one way or the other Mexico will pay for the wall,’ he said.
President Trump insisted on Monday that he still expects Mexico to pay for a wall on America’s southern border – in part because it will help both countries fight a war against drug traffickers
Trump staked his campaign on the promise to wall off the U.S. from Mexico. Shown is metal fencing along the border in Sonoyta, Sonora state, northern Mexico, between the Altar desert in Mexico and the Arizona desert in the United States
Trump appeared Monday in a joint White House press conference with Finland’s president Sauli Niinistö (left)
Trump tweeted on Sunday that ‘[w]ith Mexico being one of the highest crime Nations in the world, we must have THE WALL.’
‘Mexico will pay for it through reimbursement/other,’ he continued.
Mexico’s foreign ministry released a statement in response, saying the nation to America’s south will not pay for a wall or other type of physical border barrier ‘under any circumstances.’
‘This determination is not part of a Mexican negotiating strategy, but a principle of national sovereignty and dignity,’ the office’s statement said.
But a day later Trump was back to making his case.
‘We need the wall very badly. As you know, Mexico has a tremendous crime problem, tremendous. One of the number two or three in the world,’ Trump said.
‘Tremendous drugs are pouring into the United States at levels that nobody has ever seen before,’ he added.
Trump tweeted on Sunday that ‘Mexico will pay’ for the wall ‘through reimbursement’ or ‘other’ means, but didn’t specify what he meant – the same pattern he followed on Monday
Mexico’s narcotics gangs have become so aggressive that a paramilitary strike force now keeps the peace in Acapulco – where an average of 12 people are murdered every day
‘The wall will stop much of the drugs from pouring into this country and poisoning our youth. So we need the wall, it’s imperative. We may fund it through the United States, but ultimately Mexico will pay for the wall.’
Republicans in the House of Representatives have passed a budget that includes $1.6 billion for the wall, an opening ante in a process that could stretch years and cost tens of billions more.
The Senate, however, hasn’t acted and likely won’t before the end of September when the 2017 budget expires.
That has created the spectre of a government shutdown if Senate Democrats declare that wall funding is a nonstarter and refuse to back any budget proposal that includes it.
Trump hinted last week during a rally in Phoenix, Arizona that he’s aware of the stakes.
‘If we have to close down our government, we are building that wall,’ he told a crowd of 15,000.
Trump told a crowd of 15,000 last Tuesday in Arizona that even ‘if we have to close down our government, we are building that wall’
On Monday the president struck a less combative tone.
‘I hope that’s not necessary,’ he told reporters. ‘If it’s necessary we’ll have to see, but I hope it’s not necessary.’
Trump argued over and over, though, that his pet project will serve as a deterrent for narco-traffickers.
‘The wall will greatly help with the drug problem. And ultimately that’s a good thing for Mexico also,’ he said.