Trump’s Favorite Excuse: Later

Perhaps the most consistent promise from Donald Trump during the presidential campaign was that he would build a wall along our Southern border and that Mexico would pay for it. Before he’s even inaugurated, key parts of that promise are falling apart. How he deals with that – both now and in the future – will provide a window into what we can expect from our president-elect on a host of other issues.

As Erica Werner and Jill Colvin report, what was once a wall has already been downgraded to a border fence upgrade. No one knows exactly how much money it will cost – but estimates are in the $10 billion ballpark. Congressional Republicans are now working with the Trump transition team on a plan to fund that by April. The most likely vehicle will be to piggyback on the Secure Fence Act of 2006 and attach funding for it to the must-pass budget bill.

But here’s the hitch…Trump promised that the Mexicans would pay for the wall (now fence). So as reports of these plans surfaced, our president-elect did what he always does when something gets under his skin. He took to Twitter.

I see. Mexico will pay us back later. Judd Legum reminds us that this is something we hear quite often from Trump.

To that list we could also add that Trump will release his tax returns later and that the campaign will address Melania’s immigration history later. None of those things ever happened.

On Mexico paying for the border wall, it is important to keep in mind that immediately following Trump’s trip to that country, President Peña Nieto stated unequivocally, “I repeat what I told you personally, Mr. Trump: Mexico will never pay for a wall.”

So here’s what the pattern looks like: whenever Trump is faced with a reality that is dangerous to his fragile ego, he promises to resolve it later. Given his own short attention span, it’s likely that he projects that onto the rest of us and thinks we’ll forget and simply move on. That’s why it is important to notice the pattern. Is the attention span of the media and/or the American people as short as Trump assumes? We’ll find out.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.