White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday that Mexico will reimburse American taxpayers for the border wall by paying a 20 percent tax on exports to the U.S.
Spicer said if you tax 20 percent of the $50 billion annual trade deficit with Mexico, you can get $10 billion a year which would “easily pay for the wall.”
“That’s really going to provide the funding,” the White House press secretary said. After Spicer’s comments were widely reported, the press secretary tried to clarify his comments and said the tax is one of several options available to the Trump White House.
He said that the White House has been in touch with Congress about the proposal and creating a concrete plan around it.
President Trump has said Congress will pay for the border wall first and that Mexico will reimburse American taxpayers later, through a possibly “complicated form.” Mexico’s leadership has adamantly denied that they will pay for a wall on America’s southern border, saying that it would be an affront to their dignity.
Spicer seemed to respond to this Thursday and said, “We are probably the only major country that doesn’t treat imports this way.” The executive order signed by President Trump Wednesday calling for the construction of a border wall suggests another form of payment could be to end foreign aid to Mexico.
The order calls for agency and department heads to identify all sources of direct and indirect federal aid or assistance to Mexico on an annual basis for the past five years. This information will be delivered to the secretary of state within 30 days of the executive order, and then a month later President Trump will get a consolidated report.
Figures made available online by the federal government show that in the past five years Mexico has received a little over $1 billion, hardly enough to pay for the wall. However, the “indirect” funds President Trump has called for a review of haven’t been calculated.