Quick Takes: The Wall

* When Donald Trump announced he would run for president, he said:

I would build a great wall. And nobody builds walls better than me, believe me. And I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great great wall on our southern border and I’ll have Mexico pay for that wall…

I know the smartest negotiators in the world. I know the good ones, I know the bad ones, I know the overrated ones. You got a lot of them that are overrated. They’re not good, they think they are, they get good stories, cause the newspapers get buffaloed. But they’re not good. But I know the best negotiators in the world. I’d put them one for each country. Believe me, folks, we’d do very well.

* Yesterday Trump signed an executive order related to building that wall.

Trump signed two executive orders directing the construction of a wall on the US-Mexico border, boosting border patrol forces and increasing the number of immigration enforcement officers who carry out deportations. The orders also call for stripping sanctuary cities of federal grant funding and announced sweeping new criteria that could make many more undocumented immigrants priorities for deportation.

* That leaves us with the question about who is going to pay for it.

“I regret and condemn the decision of the United States to continue construction of a wall that, for years, has divided us instead of uniting us,” President Pena Nieto said in a brief televised message on Wednesday.

“Mexico does not believe in walls. I have said it time and again: Mexico will not pay for any wall,” he said, referring to Trump’s vow to make his southern neighbour pay for the barrier…

“Mexico gives and demands respect as the completely sovereign nation that we are,” Pena Nieto, who is due to meet Trump at the White House next week, said.

* The “fiscally conservative” Republican Congressional leaders say they’re prepared to have American taxpayers pay for it.

House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said today that Congress will forge ahead with plans to approve funds for President Donald Trump’s border wall, which they estimate will cost $12 billion to $15 billion.

“We intend to address the wall issue ourselves, and the president can deal with his relations with other countries on that issue and others,” McConnell told reporters at a GOP policy retreat in Philadelphia.

* Referring to President Nieto’s cancelled trip to Washington next week, Trump sounds ready to concede that Mexico won’t be paying for the wall.

So that’s it? Where are all those great negotiators Trump promised to put in charge of things like this?

* The White House Press Secretary says there’s a way we can MAKE Mexico pay for it.

Sean Spicer, White House press secretary for President Donald Trump, told reporters on Thursday that the administration is pushing for a 20% border tax on Mexican imports…

Spicer said the border tax would be part of a broader tax reform package and would help pay for the proposed wall along the US-Mexico border, according to the report.

* Except, maybe not a border tax after all.

Spicer later elaboratd to NBC News Correspondent Peter Alexander that the border tax was not a policy proposal, but just an example of how to pay for the wall. Trump Chief of Staff Reince Preibus also said the tax was one of a “buffett” of options for paying for the wall.

* Let’s summarize. Donald Trump wants to build a wall that will accomplish nothing other than feed his own ego. It will cost between $12 and $15 billion. Americans will pay for it, while the Trump administration starts a trade war with Mexico.

End.Of.Story.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.