White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted at a press briefing on Tuesday that President Donald Trump's administration is not asking American taxpayers to fund Trump's border wall.
Trump previously threatened to force a government shutdown if Congress did not grant him $5 billion for a border wall, saying he would be "proud" to shut down the government "over border security."
During today's brief press conference, however, Sanders backed off that threat, saying they are looking for funding elsewhere, i.e., not from Congress.
ABC's Terry Moran pressed Sanders on "where the additional monies for the wall are going to come from." Citing the ballooning federal budget deficit, Moran asked Sanders why Trump is "asking the American taxpayer" to foot the bill when he promised that "Mexico was going to pay" for the wall.
"We're not asking American taxpayers for that. We are looking at existing funding through other agencies right now that we can draw on immediately."
She continued: "The president has been clear that the USMCA deal would provide additional revenue through that deal that would show that Mexico is paying for the wall."
"The president has been clear that the USMCA deal would provide additional revenue through that deal that would sho… https://t.co/i6YaKG06Qp— ABC News Politics (@ABC News Politics)1545161447.0
"Have you done the math on that?" Moran asked of Sanders's plan to get "more revenue" from Trump's recent trade deal.
Sanders insisted trade revenue from USMCA, an updated version of NAFTA, would somehow pay for the wall without costing taxpayers additional money.
As CNN's Jim Acosta points out, Sanders's plan makes no sense. If the funding is coming from federal agencies, then taxpayer money is funding the wall.
Sanders said today the WH is not looking for the taxpayers to pay for the wall while at the same time said the WH i… https://t.co/zZgDyQajEe— Jim Acosta (@Jim Acosta)1545163069.0
Others echoed that sentiment.
Asked why Trump is trying to make taxpayers pay for his wall after promising Mexico would, Sarah Sanders just said,… https://t.co/eysI4K0Zlj— Rep. Don Beyer (@Rep. Don Beyer)1545161867.0
"We’re not asking American taxpayers for that." -- Sarah Sanders on looking for funding for the wall through variou… https://t.co/rPMLvuGiv7— Jonathan Allen (@Jonathan Allen)1545160784.0
Trump ran for president on the premise that Mexico would pay. This is never going to happen.
@Acosta @PressSec I’m old enough to remember when Mexico was supposed to pay for it— QuinneyUte (@QuinneyUte)1545163138.0
@Acosta @PressSec Mexico 🇲🇽— Molly Jong-Fast (@Molly Jong-Fast)1545165397.0
@Acosta @PressSec @Acosta Wasn't Mexico supposed to pay for the whole thing? I'm confused....— Alex Goldstone (@Alex Goldstone)1545163126.0
@Acosta @PressSec They meant to say New Mexico is paying for the wall.— Myles F. Standish (@Myles F. Standish)1545163331.0
@ABCPolitics @TerryMoran https://t.co/21XBXUVDkF— LiberalTalkingPoints (@LiberalTalkingPoints)1545162425.0
Does the administration understand how federal funding works?
It appears not.
@ABCPolitics @TerryMoran It’s still taxpayer money. That’s money that would otherwise be going into US Economy.— Alison Bodkin 💙 (@Alison Bodkin 💙)1545162469.0
@Acosta @PressSec Is there anyone in the White House who understands how government works?— jchoffos (@jchoffos)1545163158.0
@Acosta @PressSec probably. or trying to cover up for the fact that her boss doesn't understand congress holds the power of the purse.— Harry Hawkings (@Harry Hawkings)1545163128.0
@Acosta @PressSec And then she said that the proceeds from the new USMCA will help fund the wall. Does she not know… https://t.co/QUTVI1l2HX— Corey Russell (@Corey Russell)1545163437.0
Moran's line of questioning was lauded on Twitter, with many noting that Sanders did not answer the question.
A lie is a lie is a lie.
@ABCPolitics @TerryMoran Flustered! Thank you @terrymoran— dailyplanner (@dailyplanner)1545161773.0
@ABCPolitics @TerryMoran Excellent line of questioning by the reporter... that’s proper journalism! and that’s exac… https://t.co/S4PtXtCRVq— Ahmed (@Ahmed)1545162718.0
@ABCPolitics @TerryMoran Great line of questioning here by Moran. Sanders had the disposition of someone who had to… https://t.co/OxJ7Oq7Az4— Eric Johnson (@Eric Johnson)1545163454.0
@Acosta @PressSec They are all grifters. Every last one of them.— Logan Murphy🌊 (@Logan Murphy🌊)1545163139.0
@ABCPolitics @TerryMoran Great job by this reporter. She never did answer his question. Maybe just the demeanor of… https://t.co/Pp126CFWAK— Debra J. Cavalieri (@Debra J. Cavalieri)1545162128.0
Math is not Trump's strong suit.
@ABCPolitics @TerryMoran That must be the math that Trump used for his bankrupt companies.— marketia patterson (@marketia patterson)1545164573.0
@ABCPolitics @wavingcrosser @TerryMoran If Trump is the patriot billionaire he says he is then why doesn't he just pay for the damn wall?— VoteNoGop (@VoteNoGop)1545165862.0
@ABCPolitics @TerryMoran She and the prez apparently do not understand fiscal policy, monetary policy, deficits, ec… https://t.co/OEVTVaa1VS— Thomas Heger (@Thomas Heger)1545164250.0
@ABCPolitics @ABC @TerryMoran Today’s economics lesson. Anyone, anyone, know what this is? Ends in doo... https://t.co/PQeG5fyd0g— cpedvern (@cpedvern)1545162421.0
Trump and Congress have until midnight on Friday to avert a government shutdown.