Manu Raju at CNN reports on growing skepticism among Republicans about President-elect Donald Trump’s oft-repeated longshot vow to “build a wall on the southern border and make Mexico pay for it”–including Colorado’s leading on-again off-again Trump backer, Rep. Mike Coffman of Aurora:
President-elect Donald Trump is still insisting that Mexico will ultimately pay billions for the construction of a massive wall along the southern border.
Many Republicans on Capitol Hill are not so sure.
In interviews with CNN, a number of Republicans suggested that Trump’s claim amounted to wishful thinking, saying they believed the billionaire businessman would ultimately backtrack on one of his central campaign promises.
“I doubt that they’re going to pay for it,” said Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, the longest-serving Senate Republican, referring to Mexico. “There’s a lot he could do if he wanted to (force Mexico’s hand). In all honesty, I don’t think that’s going to happen.”
Rep. Mike Coffman, a Colorado Republican, added: “I never thought that would happen. I thought it was a gimmick.” [Pols emphasis]
The story quotes other Republicans variously agreeing with Trump that forcing Mexico to pay for–or at least reimburse–the United States for the costs of building a wall across the entire 1,989 miles of border between the two nations is plausible. Or if it’s not, at least agreeing that America needs “border security.”
Less clear from this story, either in Coffman’s case or that of other Republicans quoted, is the answer to what may be the only question that matters: will Republicans in Congress vote to pay for Trump’s wall first and “collect” from Mexico later? Even Trump seems to admit now that this is the only practical way to proceed.
For Mike Coffman, who has kept his career alive by changing his stripes on immigration to fit his changing constituency, the question is twofold: voting to build a wall America would have to pay for–and on a more basic level, voting to build Trump’s wall at all.
You’ll notice Coffman’s response to the question disclosed neither.