Justin Sullivan | Getty Images News | Getty Images
A view of the US-Mexican border fence at Playas de Tijuana on January 27, 2017 in Tijuana, Mexico.
The White House still won’t rule out Mexico paying for President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall, even as the president threatens to shut down the government over federal funding for the project.
On Tuesday, Trump said, “If we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall.” Democrats are insisting that funding for the controversial barrier is not included in a bill to keep the government running past the Sept. 30 deadline.
During a briefing Thursday, reporters repeatedly pushed press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders about why Trump would threaten a shutdown after he promised as a candidate that Mexico would fund the wall. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has insisted that Mexico will not pay for the project, and Trump himself appeared resigned to that during a private call with his counterpart.
Asked multiple questions about the pledge to make Mexico pay, Sanders first responded that Trump would make sure the wall gets completed and that he would fight for the funding.
“The president’s committed to making sure this gets done,” she said, without addressing how the United States’ southern neighbor would fit in.
Pressed again about the project, she said, “I certainly don’t think any efforts have been abandoned” to force Mexico to pay for the barrier.
Later, when a reporter noted that Trump has stopped saying Mexico would fund the wall, Sanders responded: “He hasn’t said they’re not, either.”
There is currently no indication that funding for the wall would come from anywhere other than the U.S. government.
As a candidate, the president pledged to build a physical barrier along the entire U.S.-Mexico border as part of his push to crack down on illegal immigration. Lawmakers whose districts sit along the border, including Republicans, have questioned the effectiveness of a physical wall.