President Donald Trump, who ran his 2016 presidential campaign promising that Mexico would pay for a wall between the U.S. and Mexican border, now says that he didn’t mean the country would “write out a check” and pay for it.
Trump told reporters Thursday as he was leaving the White House to visit the southern border that he “never said” his oft-repeated remarks, per CNN.
“When during the campaign, I would say, ‘Mexico is going to pay for it,’ obviously, I never said this and I never meant they’re gonna write out a check. I said they’re going to pay for it. They are,” he said.
The president’s new comments are in direct contrast to what his campaign outlined in April 2016, when he said Mexico would pay $5 to $10 billion for the border wall.
“It’s an easy decision for Mexico: make a one-time payment of $5-10 billion to ensure that $24 billion continues to flow into their country year after year,” the memo reads.
*Video of Trump saying Mexico will pay for the wall* .
The president is at a standstill with Democratic party leaders over $5.7 billion in funding for the wall, which has resulted in a partial government shutdown that is affecting salaries to 800,000 federal workers.
Trump said the new trade deal between the U.S., Mexico and Canada would allow for Mexico to pay for the wall, but the deal does not have measures that make the country pay directly or “indirectly,” as he claims.
“Mexico is paying for the wall indirectly, and when I said Mexico will pay for the wall in front of thousands and thousands of people, obviously they’re not gonna write a check. But they are paying for the wall indirectly many, many times over by the really great trade deal we just made.”