Most Americans probably remember Donald Trump saying on the campaign trail—every chance he could—that he was going to “build the wall” along the southern border and that “Mexico would pay for it.”
But when the president claimed during his trip to the border on Thursday that he “never said” they would literally write a check, many Fox News viewers were probably inclined to take him at his word. Thankfully, host Neil Cavuto put in some effort to correct the record this afternoon.
Noting that Trump said something to reporters that “startled a lot of people,” Cavuto played his viewers the clip of the president asking, “Do you think they’re going to write a check for $20 billion or $10 billion or $5 billion or two cents? No! They’re paying for the wall in a great trade deal.”
“That is not exactly what you said in the past,” Cavuto replied, cutting to a montage of Trump promising to have Mexico, quite literally, “pay for the wall.” Sometimes, Trump would even ask his crowd who was going to pay for the wall and they knew to shout back, “Mexico!”
“It was very consistent throughout the campaign, whatever you make of it, and of course it lit up his base by saying the Mexicans were going to foot the bill for this,” Cavuto said. “He was very, very clear, consistently—in fact, constantly—saying that the Mexicans were going to pay for this.”
From there, the host got back in his Fox News lane, saying the president is “not the only one who has played fast and loose with comments made versus comments now made,” going after Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi for being tougher on illegal immigration in the past than they seem to be now.
“Both sides play this game,” Cavuto declared. “Both have said things that have locked them into positions that they now are claiming a 180 from. The president once said that Mexico would pay for the wall. Apparently he didn’t mean it. Democrats saying there is no crisis at the border when apparently little more than a few months ago there was.”
When it comes to Trump’s claim that his new trade deal would in effect make Mexico pay for the wall indirectly, Cavuto’s Fox News colleague Shepard Smith blew a hole in that theory during his fact-check of Trump’s Oval Office speech on Tuesday night. “As for the trade deal he mentioned with Mexico, which he said would pay for the wall,” Smith told viewers, “that trade deal is not yet complete.”