If you've noticed that Mexico has never ponied up for the border wall despite President Trump's insistence that he would force them to do so, you're not alone. This is one deal the President has not yet mastered the art of.
Or has he? The President announced Tuesday that Mexico is going to be paying for the wall, it turns out, just in a roundabout way that they're not talking about: border tollbooths.
Trump made this absurd claim during a rally Tuesday in North Carolina.
Trump makes stuff up: "Mexico is paying for the wall, just so you understand. They don't say that. They never say it. But we're gonna charge a small fee at the border. You know, the toll booths." pic.twitter.com/Vs9i2fQHiG
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 8, 2020
Trump's claims about border tollbooths were among the more fantastical ones made during his speech in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
"And you know, Mexico is paying for the wall. Just so you understand, they don't say that. They never say it.
"But we're gonna charge a small fee at the border. You know, the toll booths."
And it wasn't just tollbooths that Trump claimed would pay for the wall.
"We're putting a small toll on and maybe we're going to do something with remittance. All the money that we spent on the wall will be coming back."
"Remittance" refers to taxes or fees levied on money transfers sent to other countries--in this case, presumably, those sent to family members in Mexico by Mexican immigrants living and working in the United States.
Trump has proposed funding the wall with remittance taxes before, and even provided a detailed plan for doing so in 2016, but it was based on fundamental misunderstandings of both the economics and legalities involved.
In the end, the Trump Administration has not been able to make good on the promises it made during the 2016 election pertaining to a border wall. While it has built some 300 miles of wall since 2016--funded by U.S. taxpayers' money reallocated from the defense budget--all but five of those miles are repairs to or replacements of existing border wall.
On Twitter, people lambasted Trump for his absurd claim.
He refers to CUSTOMS as “Toll booths"?
Am I sure I want him in for another four years? pic.twitter.com/Cd5qGdO8dV
— RICH Boone (@opiedog8) September 8, 2020
It says a lot about his cult following if they're still believing this lie pic.twitter.com/Hiy8BXRZoV
— Randy Grant (@RetiredCo857) September 9, 2020
What's worse than him lying are all the dorks behind him cheering him on when he lies. It's like when my 2yo draws a “train" which is just lines on the paper and I go WOW THAT IS THE BEST TRAIN IVE EVER SEEN!! Good job bud!
— B-Rex (@BRex760) September 8, 2020
Every explanation for how Mexico is supposedly going to “pay for the wall" has been ridiculous, this takes the cake. Pulled out of thin air. https://t.co/eCVHyLUyOk
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) September 8, 2020
Many pointed out that the mathematical and logistical implications of Trump's claim do not make any sense.
You can't generate enough revenues at border tollbooths to fund a $25 billion wall.
It would take upwards of 30 years. With maintenance and operating costs, 50 years.
Traffic would crawl.
POUTS is a terrible businessman, but he's a passable charlatan.https://t.co/4LLgln1lcN
— Monty 🇺🇸Hamilton's Battery🇺🇸 Boa (@MontyBoa99) September 9, 2020
How much do we have to charge each car to break even? $10k? pic.twitter.com/mUjQoYcbNc
— 𝙅𝙚𝙣𝙣𝙮 𝙏𝙖𝙠𝙚 𝙖 𝙍𝙞𝙙𝙚 🚙 (@jnnyjen) September 8, 2020
So immigrants crossing the border have to stop and pay a toll before entering the country illegally? 🤔
— 😷 STEVE 😷 (@stevethefirst) September 8, 2020
To be clear
There are no toll booths between the US and Mexico
Also the “wall" is averaging 20 million a mile
So at a toll of say 20 dollars a car it would take a million cars to pay for one mile of wall https://t.co/Tr9xqT4p75
— William Buecker (@wcbuecker) September 9, 2020
And of course, some couldn't help but laugh.
And there will also be bake sales at the border to pay for the wall.
— Joel Klebanoff (@JoelKlebanoff) September 8, 2020
— Sadie Crandle (I'm with Nasty #Kamala) 👩🍳🧙♀️ (@sadiecrandle) September 8, 2020
Do we get the EasyPass in Juarez or El Paso? https://t.co/1X40UEyb52
— Mark Hertling (@MarkHertling) September 9, 2020
The tollbooth claim is just the latest in a series of claims Trump has made about how Mexico would pay for the wall, including provisions under a new trade deal and so-called "longer-term reimbursement," neither of which have held up to scrutiny.