Trump says U.S. to build wall and be “paid back” by Mexico

Workers erected a portion of the existing border fence.
Workers erected a portion of the existing border fence.

By Kim Hjelmgaard / USAToday

President-elect Donald Trump defended a plan Friday that would see the United States initially pay for a border wall with Mexico and then be reimbursed at a later date.

“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!” Trump tweeted Friday.

The proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall was one of Trump’s key campaign pledges. He repeatedly vowed to make Mexico pay for it. His reference to “dishonest media” was related to reports that emerged late Thursday that appeared to suggest the president-elect was trying to modify his vow.

Trump did not specify in his tweet whether his administration would seek to build the wall with taxpayer money, although he suggested in a speech in October that U.S. government funds could initially be used to get the project off the ground.

“I said Mexico is paying for the wall, with the full understanding that the country of Mexico will be reimbursing the United States for the full cost of such a wall, OK?” Trump said at a rally in Gettysburg, Pa. on Oct. 22. “We’re going to have the wall. Mexico is going to pay for the wall.”

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has said his country won’t pay for the wall.

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