White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Thursday said that imposing a 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico is just one way that President Trump is considering paying for his border wall.
Spicer was seeking to clarify an earlier position that he took regarding the plan, saying that his comments were not meant to be an official policy rollout.
“Our job right now isn’t to roll something out or be prescriptive,” the Press Secretary said inside his White House office. “It’s to show that there are ways that the wall could be paid for. Full stop. That’s it.” But he made sure to deny that he was making a formal policy announcement.
“The idea was that there have been questions about how the President could pay for the wall,” he said. “One idea through comprehensive tax reform is that there could be this idea that Speaker Ryan and others have floated that could generate revenue.”
The comments seemed at odds with his earlier statements when he said that Trump actually wanted to tax all imports from Mexico at a 20 percent rate, which he said would generate more than $10 billion to pay for the wall. “This is something that we’ve been in close contact with both houses in moving forward and creating a plan,” he said to reporters.
He went so far as to say that the provision could be included in a comprehensive tax reform package being crafted by Republicans in Congress. “This is the beginning of this plan to make sure it is done right,” he said. “But, it clearly provides the funding and does so in a way that ensures that the American taxpayer is wholly respected.”
Any such tax plan could have very far-reaching consequences for Americans — both consumers and businesses — while exacerbating tensions between the U.S. and its southern neighbor. Spicer did not provide any specifics as to how any tariff would be paid by the Mexican government or not be passed on to U.S. consumers. He was equally silent on any implications on exports or whether there was any plan to deal with a retaliation by Mexico.