Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall at the Mexican border — reportedly to keep Mexico from exporting “crime and poverty” into the United States — has one small flaw. Trump has said over and over that Mexico must pay for the wall, which as president he will persuade Mexico to do by cracking down on immigration and jacking up tariffs. Mexico begs to differ. Last month, former Mexican president Vicente Fox said he was “not going to pay for that fucking wall,” and other Mexican politicians have echoed his sentiments. But Thursday Mexican finance minister Luis Videgaray put the matter to rest in a televised interview. “Under no circumstance will Mexico pay for the wall that Mr. Trump is proposing,” he said, adding that the country “emphatically and categorically” refuses to do so.
Vidergaray went on to say that the whole idea of the Trump Wall (“Of course I’d name it after myself,” Trump told a crowd of supporters in Maine earlier today) emphasizes the candidate’s failure to understand the way nations are supposed to interact. “Building a wall between Mexico and the United States is a terrible idea,” he said. “It is an idea based on ignorance and has no foundation in the reality of North American integration.”
What’s more, Trump’s idea that Mexico should pay for the wall with its trade deficit is completely baseless. “Just because the Mexican economy has a trade surplus relative to the United States doesn’t mean the Mexican government has the resources to build a border wall,” Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration expert at the libertarian Cato Institute, told PolitiFact. “It would be like me threatening my neighbor to build a new fence or else I’ll stop shopping at Walmart.” According to PolitiFact, the trade deficit has almost nothing to do with the Mexican government; it’s mostly based on trading and investment from private individuals. What’s more, just because a country has a trade deficit doesn’t mean it has that amount of cash sitting around in a vault somewhere.
Nor will the nation have Trump himself: Mexico City lawmakers have passed a (largely symbolic) proposal banning Trump from the country.