President Donald Trump has begun to tie his seemingly abandoned campaign promise that Mexico will pay for the construction of a wall on the U.S. border to the newly negotiated trade pact that would replace NAFTA.
In a Thursday tweet, Trump, using dubious logic, declared that he’d made good on his vow by way of coming through on another campaign pledge to renegotiate NAFTA with the leaders of Canada and Mexico.
“I often stated, ‘One way or the other, Mexico is going to pay for the Wall.’ This has never changed,” Trump wrote in a tweet. “Our new deal with Mexico (and Canada), the USMCA, is so much better than the old, very costly & anti-USA NAFTA deal, that just by the money we save, MEXICO IS PAYING FOR THE WALL!”
Following an extraordinary televised meeting in the Oval Office on Tuesday with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in which the trio sparred over wall funding, Pelosi told lawmakers that in private, Trump asserted the same claim.
The Trump administration completed its negotiations on the revised NAFTA, which has been dubbed the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement, earlier this fall. The new deal has yet to be ratified by Congress, and the administration faces an uphill climb to getting the support it needs from lawmakers.
There is no consensus that provisions in the new trade deal would result in Mexico funding a border wall, and former Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray tweeted following the announcement of an initial agreement on the USMCA that Mexico would never pay for the wall, even through the new deal.
While the administration could try to include funding for the wall in a bill providing for the USMCA’s implementation, the chances are slim that it could pass in the divided Congress Trump is set to face. It is also possible that Trump believes increased trade with Mexico will generate more tax revenue that will in turn fund the wall, which has been pegged with a $25 billion price tag.
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