WASHINGTON – Quietly, and without any fanfare from major media, Donald Trump has unveiled his plan for getting Mexico to pay for the border wall.
He says he plans to offer a new deal on NAFTA that will share increased revenues between the two countries more equitably, a small portion of which will be diverted to pay for the cost of the wall.
The Trump administration is currently seeking federal funding for the wall while renegotiating the U.S. trade deal with both Mexico and Canada.
“They can pay for it indirectly through NAFTA,” Trump said Thursday in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. “We make a good deal on NAFTA, and, say, ‘I’m going to take a small percentage of that money and it’s going toward the wall.’ Guess what? Mexico’s paying.”
Trump’s comments came hours after he was updated by his administration’s top economic and trade advisers on the progress of those negotiations and the administration’s trade actions more broadly.
Trump repeatedly promised during the campaign that he would build a wall on the Southern U.S. border and get Mexico to pay for it. Democrats are refusing even to approve a budget without a bill to approve DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which he rescinded in the fall.
Trump warned Thursday that if Mexico did not agree to new terms on the free trade deal, known formally as the North American Free Trade Agreement, then he would simply “terminate” the deal.
“Now, Mexico may not want to make the NAFTA deal, which is OK, then I’ll terminate NAFTA, which I think would be frankly a positive for our country,” Trump said.