President Trump returned to a favorite claim about who would pay for the border wall in a tweet Thursday:
Sen. Chuck Schumer replied with a tweet of his own: "Mr. President: If you say Mexico is going to pay for the wall (which I don't believe), then I guess we don't have to!" Trump’s other leading opponent in the struggle over wall funding, House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), also dismissed the claim. “I think the Oval Office is an evidence free zone,” Pelsoi said, adding that Trump’s statement “doesn’t make any sense.”
The Washington Post’s John Wagner and Damian Paletta said that Trump’s claim about Mexico paying for the wall “has stumped many budget experts.” There is no mechanism through which trade-related revenues are diverted to build the wall, and the there’s no sense in which the trade deal saves Americans money.
“At the end of the day, the American taxpayer is still paying for it,” William Hoagland, a former Republican staff director of the Senate Budget Committee, told Wagner and Paletta. “Because where are the revenues coming from? They are not coming from Mexican taxpayers.”
For a more in-depth analysis of why Mexico won’t be paying for the border wall, see Philip Bump’s piece in the Post.