Trump repeats threat to force Mexico to pay for border security barrier
“I’ve said that they’re going to pay for the wall, and they will pay for the wall”
With just hours to go before he will square off with Republican presidential contenders at his first political debate, Donald Trump on Tuesday reiterated his controversial pledge to force Mexico to pay for a wall along the US border to keep illegal migrants from crossing over.
In an interview with FOX News anchor Bill O’Reilly, Trump – who, according to major polls, is a clear-shot frontrunner for the Republican nomination – said it was just “so simple” how he would convince the Mexican government.
“You know the Great Wall of China, built a long time ago, is 13,000 miles. I mean, you're talking about big stuff. We’re talking about peanuts, by comparison, to that. Mexico will pay for the wall. I will make sure it gets done properly,” he said.
O’Reilly had asked Trump on three occasions during the interview for specifics on how he would push Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to pay for a border security barrier.
“Bill. Bill. Bill. They're making a fortune. Mexico is making a fortune in the United States. It’s becoming the new China in terms of trade. They’re killing us at the border. I have a lot of respect for Mexico. I have hundreds – actually, thousands – of Mexicans that have worked for me over the years,” Trump said.
“I’m going to say, ‘Mexico, guess what? This is not going to continue. You’re going to pay for the wall.’ I’ve said that they’re going to pay for the wall, and they will pay for the wall.”
The Mexican government had no immediate reaction to Trump’s comments. But in June, when Trump first proposed that the Peña Nieto government pay for the wall, as well as blaming Mexico for sending over “rapists,” “drug-traffickers” and murderers, his statements were labeled as racist by many Mexicans.
Mexico is making a fortune in the United States and they’re killing at us at the border”
Last month, Trump made a much-publicized trip to Laredo, Texas where he inspected a security fence and praised city officials, including the Mexican-American mayor, Pete Saenz, for doing a good job in protecting the border. In comments to reporters, he said that a wall “would save us a lot of money.”
Despite the backlash of criticism from the US Latino-Hispanic community and even from his Republican opponents, Trump will go to Thursday night’s debate in Cleveland with a generous 11-percent lead in primary polls over his closest candidate, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
Only 10 Republican contenders – chosen by FOX News, which is sponsoring the debate, based on the average each candidate received in the five most recent national polls – will participate. There are currently 17 hopefuls currently running for the GOP nomination.
The debate is scheduled to begin at 11pm CEST (5pm in Cleveland) and will be carried live by FOX News.
After he first made his statements about Mexican illegal immigration back in June, when he announced his candidacy, Trump has lost a string of business ties with major US companies and television networks such as Macy’s, NBC and Univision.
On Friday, Trump filed a $10 million civil lawsuit against Spanish celebrity chef José Andrés for breaking a contract to open a restaurant in his new Trump International Hotel in Washington DC.
In a statement, Andrés said he could not do business with someone who “makes disparaging remarks” against Latinos.
English version by Martin Delfin.