A wall on the border with Mexico will start being built within the first year of the Trump administration, the president-elect said at a press conference on Wednesday (11 January).
"We're going to build a wall," Donald Trump said, adding that Vice president-elect Mike Pence has already been working in Washington DC to secure financing from lawmakers. "We're going to start building."
Trump spoke at his first official press conference since becoming President-elect. The last time he spoke to reporters in a similar setting was on 27 July 2016.
Trump said that he didn't want to wait a year and a half to negotiate with Mexico over the cost. "I want to get the wall started," Trump said, and "Mexico, in some form, will reimburse us. Whether it's a tax or wether it's a payment... More likely it's a payment."
The response from Mexico: "has been so nice, so nice," Trump said. Yet last week former Mexican President Vicente Fox Quesada had a few choice words for Trump.
"TRUMP, when will you understand that I am not paying for that f****n wall. Be clear with US tax payers. They will pay for it," Fox wrote on Twitter. "Trump may ask whoever he wants, but still neither myself nor Mexico are going to pay for his racist monument. Another promise he can't keep," Fox said.
This week, Mexico's current leadership also hit out at Trump. "There are no circumstances... not even the best possible trade deal, investments, support which would justify taking a step that would violate the dignity of Mexicans to such an extent," said Mexico's new Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray on 10 January.
"There's no way that could happen," Videgaray said, of the possibility that Mexico would reimburse the United States for the cost.
"Mexico has taken advantage of the United States," Trump said during the press conference. He also hit out at American companies that move their factories to Mexico and said he would impose a big border tax on goods coming across the border.
"I don't blame them for what's happened," Trump said, laying blame for cross border manufacturing jobs and illegal immigration from Mexico at the feet of American politicians. But "Mexico will pay for the wall," he said.