You have to give Donald Trump credit. He truly has mastered the art of saying a whole lot in 140-characters or less. What’s even more impressive is that his Tweets often work for those who don’t understand the context just as well as they work to convey the message to those who do.
His early morning Tweet Friday was in response to CNN and other news organizations’ reports that Congress is going to attempt to budget his infamous Mexican border wall, thereby paying for it with taxpayer dollars.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2017
There are two problems – one on each side. Trump is incorrect in stating that the media isn’t reporting his claim that Mexico will pay back the money. Every article I read included a link or mention of his October claim that we’ll probably pay for it but have Mexico pay it back later. On the other hand, the media is also at fault for positioning most headlines to make it seem like he was backtracking on a campaign promise.
Here’s the reality of the situation. Dozens, perhaps more than a hundred times on the campaign trail, Trump stated that Mexico would pay for the wall. It became one of the staples of his campaign. On the other hand, he talked about Americans paying for the wall first and having Mexico pay back the money very few times (I could only actually find one mention) and only in the homestretch of the campaign. That the media and even his own supporters would be confused by the latest development is understandable.
Looking at this from the perspective of someone who didn’t support Trump but who does support the wall, I don’t see this as news at all. This is pretty much what I expected since he first started mentioning Mexico paying for it. Call me silly, but I took it as a given that if he was going to have them pay for the wall, this is how it would go down. I’ll also admit that he’ll need to pull a rabbit out of his hat if he’s going to make it happen. The good news is that if any politician can do it, Trump would be that person. As long as he doesn’t go overboard with whatever he’s going to do to get the money, I’m actually a little excited to see how he does it. Just like with his proposed trillion dollar infrastructure plan that will somehow only cost a fraction of the cost, this is one of those situations where I’m going to hold judgment until the final act.
One thing to consider: if he doesn’t pull it off by getting direct revenue in some form or fashion from Mexico, this could be his “Read my lips, no new taxes” moment. If he makes it happen exactly like he says, he might win the 2020 election on the merits of that magic trick alone.