Donald Trump admits US taxpayer will fund his border wall... but claims Mexico will repay costs

President-elect will reportedly seek funding as soon as April for the estimated $14 billion (£11 billion) project 

Lucy Pasha-Robinson
Friday 06 January 2017 11:28 GMT
In November, Mr Trump admitted certain areas of the 2,000-mile border wall would likely be a 'fence'
In November, Mr Trump admitted certain areas of the 2,000-mile border wall would likely be a 'fence' (Getty)

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Donald Trump has claimed Mexico will reimburse the US taxpayer for any money spent on building a border wall between the two countries, after it emerged he would approach Congress to foot the bill.

House Republicans revealed the President-elect would use public funds for the estimated $14 billion (£11 billion) project, in a U-turn from the repeated pledge during his presidential campaign that he would force Mexico to fund its construction.

Mr Trump appeared to confirm reports on Friday by saying US funds would only be used “for sake of speed” and would subsequently be repaid by its neighbour country.

“The dishonest media does not report that any money spent on building the Great Wall (for sake of speed), will be paid back by Mexico later!” he wrote on Twitter.

He did not clarify how he intended to force the Mexican government to repay the US.

It follows a string of similar reversals for the incoming leader. In October, he suggested for the first time that Mexico would reimburse the US for the cost of the wall, and in November, he admitted certain areas would likely be a “fence”.

In December, he claimed parts of the wall he pledged to build would not be needed due to “mountains” and “vicious rivers” in some areas.

Trump maintains that Mexico will build wall

House officials told CNN Mr Trump would seek to fund the project through the appropriations process as soon as April.

A total of 12 standard appropriation bills are passed each fiscal year by Congress that cover federal government spending.

However, many are concerned by the huge cost of the project to the taxpayer.

Former Mexican president Vicente Fox Quesada denied Mexico would refund any cost associated with building the wall.

“Trump may ask whoever he wants, but still neither myself nor Mexico are going to pay for his racist monument. Another promise he can’t keep,” he wrote on Twitter on Friday.

If the country refuses to fund the scheme, as it has promised to do, the Republican party would have to absorb the cost into the spending bill, which needs to pass by 28 April for the government to stay open.

However, doing so would likely provoke opposition from Senate Democrats and possibly cause a government shutdown.

Republican leaders, with Mr Trump’s transition team, are reportedly considering using a 2006 law signed by former President George W Bush, which allowed for more than 700 miles of “physical barrier” to be built on the southern border, according to Politico.

However, GOP sources claimed no decisions had been made.

House Majority Whip Rep Steve Scalise of Louisiana said the details of a plan were still being finalised.

“We want President Trump to have all the tools he needs to build the wall,” he told CNN.

“We’re in talks with him on the details of it as they’re still putting together their team. We’ve still got a few months before there’s another funding bill that’s going to move. We’re going to work with him to make sure we can get it done. We want to build a wall. He wants to build a wall.”

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