One of Trump’s central promises during his campaign was that he was going to build a big, beautiful wall and that Mexico was going to pay for it. Stoking racist fears was one of the pillars on which Trump was elected—he underscored this point with a truly nasty speech last month in which he contended that illegal immigrants were “animals” who wanted to “slice and dice” young girls.
But on Thursday, The Washington Post published full transcripts of two separate calls that Trump made with Mexican President Peña Nieto and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. In his January 27 call with Peña Nieto, Trump made it clear that he realized his ridiculous assertion that Mexico would fund the wall was turning into a political problem for him. Trump then asked Peña Nieto if he would please kindly just stop talking about it. (Two days earlier, Trump had signed an executive order to begin construction on the wall.) “Believe it or not, this is the least important thing that we are talking about, but politically this might be the most important talk about,” Trump told Peña Nieto.
When Peña Nieto affirmed that his position was “that Mexico cannot pay for the wall,” Trump replied, “But you cannot say that to the press. The press is going to go with that and I cannot live with that.” He told Peña Nieto that the funding would “work out in the formula somehow.” They both seemed to agree to put the topic of the wall aside.
Trump, of course, has since continued to push the idea that Mexico will pay for the wall...
At a later date.
In some form.