Back in April 2015 – an era so far away in American history that it hardly slips in and out of sight, enveloped in the haze of everything that has happened since – Donald John Trump promised the United States that he would have a wall at the border would build with Mexico and that Mexico would cover the costs.
It was during an event in New Hampshire that was discussed by Paul Steinhauser of NH1 News, focused on the state that, as it turns out, would give Trump his first victory in electoral politics. But then – despite Steinhauser's correct assessment that it was not – it seemed like a joke. The TV man would build a wall for free, huh? All right. Good luck.
The point is, however, that Trump's claim that Mexico would pay for the wall is in fact older than his campaign itself. During that event in New Hampshire, he even said how it would happen, broadly.
"I will get it out of just a small part of the money they have betrayed us in the last years," he said.
This is striking because of the continued elimination of the government that stems from Trump's claim that the American – and not the Mexican – government would take the tab. He went on Wednesday in comments to reporters and claimed that his frequent claims that Mexico would pay for the wall were always meant to suggest an indirect payment, just like the statement above.
"When I say during the campaign," Mexico is going to pay for it, "I've never said this clearly and it was never my intention to write a check," Trump said. I said they are going to pay for it. They are. They pay for it with the incredible deal we have signed, called the United States, Mexico and Canada – USMCA deal. "
Further on, Trump remarked (unusual for the subject) that the trade agreement had not yet been approved by Congress and therefore did not pay anything for anything. However, he did not point out that there is no real mechanism within that deal that would accomplish the payment that he claims will follow.
"When I said that" Mexico will pay for the wall "for thousands and thousands of people, they will clearly not issue a check," he repeated. "But they pay indirectly for the wall, many, many times over, because of the really great trade agreement that we have just concluded. "
The only problem? Occasionally he claimed that Mexico would perform the equivalent of signing a check.
It is understandable that Trump may have forgotten that. The mechanism he claimed would be used to force Mexico to continue evolving so often during and after the campaign that it is a bit difficult to keep track of. Here we do our best to put together these claims, including at least once when the implication was specifically that he would persuade Mexico to simply transfer the necessary money. (Much of this comes from the eternally useful database on Factba.se.)
April 2015. Method: Trade deficits / deals.
As above: "I will get it out of just a small part of the money they have betrayed us in the past years."
It is worth noting that the trade deficit is not a function of an imbalance between governments, but instead of the discrepancy between the value of goods and services purchased from or sold to both countries. A reduction in the trade deficit does not generate money that the government can use to pay for a construction project.
June 16, 2015. Method: Unclear.
"I will make Mexico pay for that wall," he said at the launch of his campaign.
September 15, 2015. Method: Making agreements.
"Mexico is going to pay for the wall, believe me," he said during a speech in Los Angeles. "You know, many politicians have said," Oh, they are, will not pay, he has to … "They do not know anything – they never read" The Art of the Deal. "
October 28, 2015. Method: Trade deficits / deals.
During a debate, Trump was asked about the claim.
"People say:" Oh, how do you get Mexico to pay you? ", He said." A politician – unlike the people at this stage, I do not want – a politician can not let them pay. I can. We lose, we have a trade imbalance of $ 50 billion per year. Believe me, the wall is peanuts in comparison. "
November 30, 2015. Method: In the same way he got CNBC to shorten his debate.
"CNBC extended their debate by one hour, two days earlier. … And who is the one who said:" Really, you're not going to do it. "I did, I could stay there forever but I said, "You're not going to do it," he said at a meeting. "And everyone told me, everyone – & # 39; This is like the wall. & # 39; Everyone says: "Oh, you will never get Mexico to pay for the wall."
January 6, 2016. Method: Being a businessman.
"Mexico is going to pay the wall," Trump said in an interview with MSNBC. "They do not understand, they say to me, some politicians," How do you get them to pay for the wall? "They do not understand, because I'm a businessman, that's what I do . & # 39;
January 12, 2016. Method: Trade deficits / deals.
"They even asked me," Donald, how can you imagine that they're paying – "and do you know how? Because they earn billions of dollars a year." Billions, "he said. the deficit we have with Mexico. And the wall has been compared with peanuts. You do not talk so much about that money, relatively speaking. & # 39;
March 31, 2016. MethodMexico would lower a check – or the US would oblige the country to pay.
After months of criticism of his claim that Mexico would pay, Trump's campaign The Post sent a memo explaining exactly how it would work.
First, the theory went, the government would propose to block the transfer of wire from some non-residents to people in Mexico. When the Mexican government protested, they were told that they suddenly had to pay the wall, otherwise the proposal would come into effect. The plan then mentions some other proposed mechanisms: the trade deficit, the cancellation of visas for Mexicans or the raising of visa costs.
This last method, the document suggested, could itself be a source of income. As noted at the time, most of these attempts to transfer money from Mexico would come from residents of Mexico, not from the government itself.
6 April 2016. Method: Same.
The memo that The Post was offered was published on the Trump campaign website.
July 27, 2016. Method: Unclear.
"I have these clowns in the back, these experts," Trump said during a demonstration. & # 39; And they say, & # 39; Mexico will never pay the wall. & # 39; Mexico – do you know how much money they earn each year? And I do not take the drugs. I'll leave that out. "
October 22, 2016. Method: A form of reimbursement. In a "contract" with voters, the Trump campaign promised that a wall would be built "on the understanding that Mexico will compensate the United States for the full cost of that wall."
October 25, 2016. Method: Outfruit of Mexican politicians.
"When people say," Well, they will never pay for the wall. "Of course they will, because they earn so much money," Trump said. "They get it at the border, they make it in every way, because their politicians are sharper and smarter than our politicians."
November 4, 2016. Method: Trade deficits / deals.
"We have a trade deficit with Mexico that no one would believe," Trump said during one of his last campaign visits. "It's a fraction of what we mean with regard to the cost of the wall, because many politicians ask me the question:" How are you going to have Mexico paid? & # 39; "
Once Trump won the presidency, he did not mention that Mexico had to pay just as much for the wall.
But it still came up.
January 11, 2017. Method: A tax or a payment.
At his first press conference as president-elect, Trump said he would immediately start building on the wall, even if the payment from Mexico would come later.
"I do not want to wait a year or a year and a half.We are going to start building," he said. "Mexico in one form or another, and there are many different forms, will compensate us and they will pay us the cost of the wall, which will happen, whether it is a tax or a payment – probably less than a payment, but it will happen. "
January 25, 2017. Method: A complicated refund.
"Ultimately it will come from what happens to Mexico," Trump told David Muir of ABC. "We will start negotiations relatively quickly and we will be reimbursed in one form by Mexico, which I have always said."
"I'll just tell you, there will be a payment," he continued. "It will be in a form, perhaps a complicated form."
January 26, 2017. Method: Revenues from tax reform.
"We are working on a tax reform bill that will reduce our trade deficits, increase US exports and generate revenue from Mexico that will pay the wall if we decide to leave it", Trump said during a speech. "It is time for the American people to have a president who is fighting for his citizens just as hard as other countries for theirs, and that is exactly what I am going to do for you, believe me."
27 January 2017. Method: Remember a meeting.
In a conversation with the president of Mexico leaked to The Post, Trump threatened to cancel a next meeting.
"We can not say that anymore, because if you're going to say that Mexico is not going to pay for the wall, then I do not want to meet you anymore, because I can not live with that," he said.
April 23, 2017. Method: Somehow.
June 21, 2017. Method: Solar panels to reduce costs for Mexico.
We're talking about the southern border, lots of sunshine, lots of heat, & # 39; Trump said. "We are thinking about building the wall like a sun wall, so it creates energy and pays for itself, and in this way Mexico will have to pay much less money."
August 27, 2017. Method: Compensation / other.
January 11, 2018. Method: One of the 10 forms that Trump can call.
"I've always said that we should have a wall, I also said that Mexico has to pay for it – sometimes you know it sometimes, I want to add who's going to pay for it, Mexico, and they'll pay for it, okay?" , Trump told the Wall Street Journal. "There are many payment methods. I could now immediately call 10. There are many payment methods, I did not say how. & # 39;
When asked to name such a method, Trump quoted the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement that led to USMCA.
May 29, 2018. Method: In an unspecified fun way.
"They're earning all this money, and they're not doing anything to stop people from Mexico and all those other countries going through Mexico – the caravan, all these things – they're not doing anything to help us. Trump. "They're going to pay the wall and they'll enjoy it. All right?"
By December, with the closing battle looming, Trump isolated the USMCA agreement as the source for that repayment.
January 4, 2019. Method: USMCA.
"What we save on the USMCA – the new trade agreement we have with Mexico and Canada – what we save on that, only with Mexico, will often pay the wall in just a year, two years and three years." Claimed Trump last week at a press conference. "So I consider that as absolute, Mexico pays for the wall."
Exactly as he always said it would happen.