President Trump on Thursday revived his promise that Mexico would pay for a border wall. But this time, he linked it to the revised NAFTA deal. The morning tweet: "I often stated, 'One way or the other, Mexico is going to pay for the Wall.' This has never changed. Our new deal with Mexico (and Canada), the USMCA, is so much better than the old, very costly & anti-USA NAFTA deal, that just by the money we save, MEXICO IS PAYING FOR THE WALL!" So what does that mean exactly? A former GOP staff director of the Senate Budget Committee tells the Washington Post he's stumped. "Boy, this is a stretch," says William Hoagland. Trump, he says, appears to be arguing that the trade deal will boost the economy so much that new tax revenue will cover the cost of the wall.
By that measure, he adds, it could be argued that Canada is also paying for the wall. Politico, too, sees "dubious logic" in Trump's statement, and if Mexico is paying for the wall under the new NAFTA, which still awaits ratification by Congress, it's news to Mexico. Trump and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador spoke this week, and Lopez Obrador says the topic didn't come up, reports the AP. Earlier this week, Trump warned that he would be "proud" to shut down the government if Democrats don't provide $5 billion to fund construction of the wall. (That heated exchange was televised.)