Trump says ‘toll’ on Mexico border crossings may finance his wall
President Trump said his administration may impose a “toll” on cars crossing into the U.S. from Mexico to finance construction of his promised wall on the southern border.
“They’re going to pay at the border, at the gate, cars going through, we’re going to do a toll — or we may do a toll,” Trump said during an event in Yuma, Ariz., where he touted construction of the wall.
During the event, the president also said that he called off last weekend’s trade talks with China and called Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus “unthinkable.”
The talks had been aimed at reviewing progress at the six-month mark of their phase-one trade agreement. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He was supposed to hold a video conference call with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin, but it was postponed indefinitely.
“I don’t want to talk to China right now,” Trump said.
In Arizona and Texas, border wall construction has sped up over the objections of residents and environmentalists
On the border wall, Trump has long faced criticism that he has failed to meet a campaign promise to make Mexico pay to build it. He has instead redirected billions of dollars from the Pentagon to finance construction, sparking a legal fight with the U.S. House, which did not authorize the spending.
“Mexico is paying for the wall, yeah,” he said in answer to a reporter’s questions about the claim Mexico would finance construction. Mexican officials have said they will never pay for the wall.
He and other officials at the Yuma event declined to say how much a toll would be, and moments later Trump said “we may do it as a tax, money being sent into Mexico” — a reference to his occasional suggestion that the U.S. may tax remittances to the country.
Also during the wide-ranging event, Trump called a former senior aide in his administration who publicly endorsed Joe Biden on Monday “a lowlife” and said he had never met him.
Miles Taylor, who was chief of staff to former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, taped an ad for the group Republican Voters Against Trump in which he says Trump “wanted to exploit” the agency “for his own political purposes.”
“He was one of the most unfocused and undisciplined senior executives I’ve ever encountered,” Taylor said in the ad, released online Monday. He said he realized: “The president was ill equipped and wouldn’t become equipped to do his job effectively, and what’s worse, was actively doing damage to our security.”
Trump said that he had never met Taylor — a slight the president often employs to belittle critics.
In a major border wall ruling, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals says the Trump administration broke the law using defense funds for wall construction.
“I never met him. I never heard of him before,” Trump said. “These are bad people; these are sick people.”
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said at the same event that he was “very disappointed in Mr. Taylor.” Wolf said Taylor had not expressed concerns about Trump administration policies before the ad was released.
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