President Donald Trump on Tuesday seemed to finally admit that Mexico hasn’t paid to build the border wall as he has repeatedly vowed. Then he suggested yet another way he could get the cash: toll booths.
“And you know, Mexico is paying for the wall,” he said at a rally in North Carolina on Tuesday. “Just so you understand, they don’t say that. They never say it. But we’re gonna charge a small fee at the border. You know, the toll booths.”
“We’re putting a small toll on and maybe we’re going to do something with remittance,” Trump added. “All the money that we spent on the wall will be coming back.”
Remittances refer to a tax or fee on payments sent overseas, such as when immigrants working in the United States send money home to family in Mexico, an idea Trump has floated in the past without much success.
Trump’s promise to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it was a signature theme of his 2016 campaign, leading to chants from the crowd at his rallies. Since the election, USA Today noted, Trump has built 300 miles of wall, although much of that was a replacement for existing border fencing. Just 5 miles are new wall.
Mexico hasn’t paid for it. Instead, Trump used U.S. taxpayer money for the segments of wall built during his administration and raided billions from his own defense budget to get the cash.
He also claimed Mexico would pay via the benefits the United States may receive under a renegotiated trade deal, a claim that hasn’t held up to scrutiny. And he’s suggested that Mexico would pay “through longer-term reimbursement.” That also did not happen.
Trump’s confession on Tuesday suggests he realizes that even his supporters know Mexico hasn’t paid a peso for the wall.