President-elect Donald Trump has blasted “dishonest media” reports that he would renege on a major campaign promise by using taxpayer funds to build the wall that Mexico was meant to fund. Instead, he asserted Friday, taxpayer money will be used to “speed up” the process and will be paid back in full by Mexico at a later date.
“We’re going to get reimbursed,” Trump told the New York Times. “But I don’t want to wait that long. But you start, and then you get reimbursed.” The president-elect suggested that he would recoup the money as part of his planned renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico.
“The dishonest media does not report that any money spent on building the Great Wall (for the sake of speed), will be paid back by Mexico later,” Trump tweeted.
Trump’s use of taxpayer funds to build the wall will fall under the auspices of a 2006 law that was signed by former President George W. Bush and called for a 700-mile “physical barrier” on the U.S.-Mexico border that was never completed.
At the time, a slew of top Democratic lawmakers – including then-Sen. Barack Obama, Charles Schumer, and Hillary Clinton – supported the legislation, raising questions about their relentless criticism of Trump’s campaign promise during the 2016 primary and general elections.