White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday afternoon that President Donald Trump was not formally proposing a 20 percent tax on Mexican imports to pay for his controversial border wall, but rather considering it among a menu of options.
“The goal today is not to be prescriptive. It’s to basically say: hey, here is a way in which the wall can be paid for extremely easy and not say ‘this is what we’re doing,'” Spicer told reporters. “This is not what we’re rolling out.”
Spicer’s clarification came after an earlier statement signaling Trump favored the policy and had discussed the plan with congressional Republican leaders as part of a broader tax reform effort. Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said the 20 percent tax on Mexican imports is one of a “buffet of options.”
“When you look at the plan that’s taking shape now, using comprehensive tax reform as a means to tax imports from countries that we have a trade deficit from, like Mexico, if you tax that $50 billion at 20 percent of imports … By doing that we can do $10 billion a year and easily pay for the wall just through that mechanism alone. That’s really going to provide the funding,” Spicer said, calling it “ridiculous” to tax exports but let imports flow freely.