He also falsely claimed on Wednesday that the wall would be completed 'very soon.'
Donald Trump lied to Minnesota voters on Wednesday, falsely claiming he'd kept his biggest 2016 campaign promise. But Mexico still has not, in fact, paid for his border wall.
At a rally in Duluth, Trump misleadingly bragged that "350 miles" of his promised wall along the southern border have "already" been built.
"It's going to be finished very soon. They don't talk about the wall anymore, fellas, what's going on? They don't talk about it," he said.
"They used to talk about it every day: 'He's not going to get his financing.' But when you're a real estate developer you always get financing, this was like easy. 'He's not going to get his financing.' Then we got our finance, they don't talk about it anymore. We're up to 300 — almost 360 miles," he continued. "We're doing it about 10 miles a week."
Trump then told them, "Yeah, Mexico is paying for it. You do know that, right? They keep saying it's going to be a border charge at the border for the trucks and cars and it won't even have to be a lot. There's so many cars and trucks going through, but Mexico's paying for it, and they've been great."
The White House and Trump campaign did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story.
But in reality, Trump did not "get his financing."
As a candidate in 2016, Trump's wall was his signature campaign promise. He repeatedly claimed the wall would both be built quickly and that Mexico would pay for it. At rallies, he would let his cheering supporters yell that Mexico would provide every penny.
After Mexico refused to pay for the wall, Trump decided he would instead ask Congress to fund it. In December 2018, he forced a 35-day partial government shutdown — the longest in history — in hopes of extorting the funds from U.S. taxpayers. This gambit also failed.
Instead, he simply decided to siphon the money. Against the explicit wishes of Congress, he took billions appropriated for military families and construction in 2019, claiming "emergency" powers to repurpose them for wall construction.
Trump's claim of nearly 360 miles built is also both misleading and a broken promise. As a candidate, he pledged to build 1,000 miles of wall and to do so within two years. More recently, he has said 450 miles would be completed in his first term.
But according to his own administration, of the "341 miles" of wall completed, almost all of it was actually replacement or enhancement of existing fencing. As of August, just five miles of new fencing had been added.
At this rate, there is no way the wall will be "finished very soon."
As a candidate, Trump promised that Mexico would directly fund the wall, via check. Since, he has shifted to claiming they will fund it indirectly. Trump first made the suggestion to fund the wall by a "small fee at the border" for travelers in September. However, that still doesn't amount to "Mexico paying for it," and the country has yet to pay a penny for the wall, directly or indirectly.
In July, Trump met with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador at the White House. According to press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, Trump did not even bring up the subject of wall funding.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.