In June 2015, in the weeks after Donald Trump announced his candidacy to the world, he very quickly built his entire political platform around the proposed construction of a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
"I will build a great wall--and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me--and I'll build them very inexpensively,” said Trump. “I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words."
Moving forward with his plans, Trump signed executive orders within the first week of his Presidency calling for construction of the wall to begin along the U.S. Southern border. However, tensions soon began to rise after Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto cancelled his meeting with Trump, announcing that Mexico had no intention of ever paying for the wall. Tough break, considering the tab Trump is racking up: his wall, which will cover over 1,250 miles in attempt to keep out immigrants and limit illegal drug trade, is estimated to cost a total of $21.6 billion by the time of its completion.
Now that Trump appears to be looking to the U.S. government to fund the wall, Democratic lawmakers have vowed to block all spending bills that include funding for its construction--and, in a shockingly rare display of bipartisanship, Republicans too have begun speaking out against it. “Republicans in Congress don’t want the wall. And that is the most under-reported aspect of this whole skirmish,” Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, told Politico. “Republicans in the leadership of both chambers actually hate that idea. They know it’s dumb.”
In efforts to avoid a government shutdown on April 28, Trump pulled back on his demands, and Republicans in the House and Senate passed a temporary funding bill which did not include the funds to begin construction of the wall. Although all efforts have now been postponed, President Trump spoke out that same day to reaffirm that the wall will be built, no matter what it takes or how much it costs--contradicting his original promise to spare American taxpayers the expense.
"We will build the wall, no matter how low this number gets or how high. Don’t even think about it," Trump said at the National Rifle Association's Leadership Summit in Atlanta. "They are trying to use this number against us. We have done so unbelievably at the borders already, they are trying to use it against us."