Republican Party presidential frontrunner Donald Trump is convinced Mexico will cough up billions of dollars to pay for a wall along the southern U.S. border.
“I will build the wall and Mexico’s going to pay for it and they will be happy to do it. Because Mexico is making so much money from the United States,” Trump told CNN this week. “And all these other characters say, ‘Oh, they won’t pay, they won’t pay.’ They don’t know the first thing about how to negotiate. Trust me, Mexico will pay.”
Sorry Donald, everyone and their mother knows Mexico would go to war rather than pay their neighbor to build a wall.
The billionaire real estate mogul’s uncompromising frankness may play out successfully in the absurd prologue to the Republican Party choosing a candidate to run for president of the United States. But a question for GOP voters should stick in the mind: Can a man so removed from reality be trusted with any power other than that which affects his own world.
Estimates suggest a minimum cost of more than US$50 billion to build a wall along the entire border, which runs along riverbanks and through remote deserts, marshlands and hill country. Once built, President Trump would then need to consider the price of policing that wall. The math is unthinkable.
History shows us that walls of this kind have only been built by totalitarian governments. Most influential U.S. conservatives now view the idea of a 1,969-mile “Berlin Wall” straddling the country’s southern border as cost-ineffective and unnecessary given the future possibilities of “virtual policing” with sensors and cameras.
Even Fox News host Bill O’Reilly seems baffled by Trump’s insistence that Mexico will willingly pay for a wall. This week the pair sparred, with Trump sticking to his guns and comparing his wall to the Great Wall of China.
“We’re talking about peanuts, by comparison, to that,” Trump told a bemused O’Reilly. “But why would Peña Nieto agree to this?” the broadcaster insisted. “Mexico’s killing us, in trade and at the border,” Trump blathered on, as usual not answering questions and tackling specifics.
Pollsters are still unsure how much of Trump’s lead in the GOP race is down to saturated media coverage and name recognition. Many pundits believe his high polling will reach its ceiling once the debate season begins, when he will be forced to explain his polemic remarks – including those regarding Senator John McCain’s war hero status – in an environment that he is unfamiliar with. (The first debate took place on Thursday, August 6, aired on the Fox News Channel as this edition was going to press.)
Trump strongly believes he will not suffer the same fate as Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum, all of whom at one time counted on more than 20 percent support before their candidacies imploded.
His wealth and stubbornness may boost his chances of hanging around longer than that list of former hopefuls. But it’s a safe bet that when the “real” debates come around in February and March 2016, we won’t still be talking about Mexico paying for border walls but other, more significant issues.