President Donald Trump has realized he can’t hold out on his campaign promise that Mexico will pay for a border wall and is now insisting that the Southern neighbor will pay for the wall “indirectly” through a new trade deal. Democrats and financial experts aren’t buying his claim.
Trump tweeted Wednesday morning that the money from the NAFTA replacement (USMCA) will fund the wall and that he’ll send the United States military as its construction workers.
Mexico is paying (indirectly) for the Wall through the new USMCA, the replacement for NAFTA! Far more money coming to the U.S. Because of the tremendous dangers at the Border, including large scale criminal and drug inflow, the United States Military will build the Wall!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2018
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer took the Senate floor Wednesday to dispute the president’s tweet.
“This is the huge turnaround for the president that once insisted that ‘mark my words, Mexico will pay for the wall 100 percent,'” he said, adding that fact-checkers have already disproved the president’s claim.
“There’s nothing in the new agreement that stimulates Mexico must devote any resources to the United States. And any ‘savings’ from a trade deal, if there are any savings, don’t go to the Treasury, they go to American businesses and American taxpayers. Ultimately, the president would have to tax the American people to fund his wall. Mexico ain’t footing the bill.”
This morning, @realDonaldTrump also tweeted that Mexico could somehow pay for the wall through a new trade deal.
Of course, there have been multiple fact checks that show a new NAFTA could not possibly fund a wall, directly or indirectly. https://t.co/y5hQ1Mpgm1
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) December 19, 2018
So far, the Trump administration has not made it clear how the new trade agreement will pay for the wall. As pointed out by Forbes, the trade agreement hasn’t even been approved by Congress yet and will need to pass through the new Democrat-dominated House.
If it does pass, Schumer’s assertion is correct: the money from the trade deal doesn’t go to the Treasury.
“None of those funds would be ear-marked for anything; they would go into general revenues,” Forbes economic policy writer Phil Levy explained.
“If the President wants to fund his wall, he will have to look somewhere other than the USMCA.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also couldn’t back up the president’s claim with facts; instead, she repeated that the trade deal would pay for the wall.
“We are looking into existing funding through other agencies right now that we can draw on to do that immediately. The president has been clear that the USMCA deal will provide additional revenue,” Sanders said as she claimed that the money saved could pay for the multi-billion dollar wall “four times over.”
Watch the video below:
"The president has been clear that the USMCA deal would provide additional revenue through that deal that would show that Mexico is paying for the wall," Sarah Sanders tells ABC News' @TerryMoran when asked if American taxpayers will pay for the wall https://t.co/Pqd36RbV0f pic.twitter.com/OnBlTZCp8W
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) December 18, 2018
Democrats are not letting Trump’s latest claim about the wall slide. “The president promised Mexico would pay for it, not the American taxpayer,” Schumer said. “We want smart, effective border security, but that’s not a wall.”