In front of his country’s diplomats, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said Wednesday that his country would not shell out a dime for a border wall with the United States. At the National Palace, Pena Nieto insisted that U.S. and Mexico could get along under a Trump presidency, and said there were several areas where he would be happy to cooperate with the new administration. The wall, however, was not one of them.
“It is evident that we have some differences with the new government of the United States, like the topic of the wall, that Mexico of course will not pay,” Peña Nieto.
It was reported last week that members of Trump’s transition team had urged Congress to move ahead with wall legislation, prompting many media outlets to characterize it as a broken promise. Because taxpayer money would be used to fund construction, Trump was betraying his campaign vow to make Mexico pay for the wall. Trump fought back vigorously against this characterization, saying that Mexico would reimburse the U.S. through a variety of mechanisms.
At his press conference on Wednesday, Trump addressed the disconnect.
“Reports went out last week, ‘Oh, Mexico is not going to pay for the wall because of a reimbursement.’ What’s the difference? I want to get the wall started,” Trump said. “We’re going to build a wall. I could wait about a year-and-a-half until we finish our negotiations with Mexico, which we’ll start immediately after we get to office, but I don’t want to wait.”
Of course, did anyone expect Pena Nieto to say anything other than he’s saying? No one actually thought that Mexico was going to eagerly deliver a check to the White House, did they? You’d think from the mainstream media stories about this little debate that Trump’s grand plans were going awry. Nonsense. It was known from the start that Trump would force Mexico to pay for the wall – not ask them. Not entice them. Force them. By one means or another.
As Trump has repeatedly said, it’s a relatively simple matter. The Mexican economy would be finished without U.S. support. Whether it’s confiscating remittances, correcting trade imbalances, or some other mechanism, President Trump will have a wide selection of options.
In the meantime, why not get started? The important thing is that we put a halt to the mass migration spilling across our southern border. If we can do that, everything else is just background detail.