Trump repeatedly insisted during his presidential campaign that Mexico will pay for a border wall, but he suggested in an October speech that Mexico could reimburse U.S. taxpayers for the project.
In an interview with the New York Times Friday, Trump said reimbursement would allow the project to be completed more quickly. He also doubled down on his claim that Mexico will end up paying for the wall through trade deal negotiations.
“It’s going to be part of everything,” he said of funding the wall. “We are going to be making a much better deal. It’s a deal that never should have been signed.”
Mexico has said it will not pay for such a wall. Taking to Twitter Friday, former Mexican President Vicente Fox said his country would never pay Trump's "racist monument."
House Republicans and Trump's transition team are considering whether to tie funding for the wall to a broader government-funding measure in April, which could make it difficult for Democrats to oppose appropriating money for the wall, according a source familiar with the discussions.
Republican leaders believe they may have authority to build the wall under a 2006 Bush-era border-wall measure that was supported by Democrats, including then-Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York and current Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York. That measure authorized construction of hundreds of miles of fencing on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Several GOP lawmakers said they were not concerned by appropriating taxpayer funds for the wall and seeking reimbursement from Mexico.
"In no place did he say, 'I'll make them pay for it in advance in pesos,'" Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said in an interview.
"I don't think anyone ever believed Mexico would write a big giant check to America," said Rep. Luke Messer, R-Indiana.
Democrats remain skeptical of the proposal, and Trump delivering on his promise.
House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, accused Trump of "scamming the American people when he said the Mexicans were going to pay for the wall."