United States president-elect Donald Trump told a press conference this morning that construction of a wall on the Mexican border will begin as soon as he takes office next week.
And he repeated his stand that Mexico will pay for the wall.
Trump said in response to a question that Mexico “in some form, and there are many different forms, will reimburse us . . . . That will happen, whether it’s a tax or whether it’s a payment — probably less likely that it’s a payment. But it will happen.”
He said the wall could wait a year and a half “until we finish our negotiations with Mexico . . . but I don’t want to wait.”
He added that he expected to “make a deal” with Mexico in less than a year and half but did not offer any details about that deal might entail.
Trump also spoke warmly of Mexico, its government and its people but observed that Mexico had taken advantage of the U.S.
“And by the way, Mexico has been so nice, so nice. I respect the government of Mexico. I respect the people of Mexico. I love the people of Mexico. I have many people from Mexico working for me. They’re phenomenal people.
“The government of Mexico is terrific. I don’t blame them for what’s happened. I don’t blame them for taking advantage of the United States. I wish our politicians were so smart.
“Mexico has taken advantage of the United States. I don’t blame the representatives and various presidents, et cetera, of Mexico. What I say is we shouldn’t have allowed that to happen. It’s not going to happen anymore.”
Trump said Vice-president Mike Pence is leading an effort to get the approval of various agencies for the border wall and get it through Congress.
The president-elect also used the conference to express appreciation to Ford Motor Company and Fiat Chrysler for the companies’ recent announcements of new investments in automotive plants in the U.S.
Ford’s announcement came with the news that it was killing a billion-dollar assembly plant in San Luis Potosí.
Trump predicted that more industries “are going to be coming back,” citing the pharmaceutical industry as one, and said “the word is now out that when you want to move your plant to Mexico or some other place and you want to fire all your workers from Michigan and Ohio . . . [it’s] not going to happen that way anymore.”
Manufacturers that do go south to Mexico will have “a very strong border” to contend with, and “a very large border tax.”
“There will be a major border tax on these companies that are leaving and getting away with murder.”
Anticipation over what the press conference might hold sent the peso to a new historic low yesterday. It set another record low during the conference, reaching 21.87 to the dollar at its conclusion.