GOP Rep: Trump's Border Wall Promise Just 'Campaign Hyperbole'

This post appears in The Wall, part of our ongoing series Broken Promises, a project to track the campaign promises of Donald Trump and if they hold true.
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In response to the highly embarrassing leaked transcript of Donald Trump's call to Mexican President Peña Nieto, Rep. Francis Rooney told CNN's Poppy Harlow that “no one could really believe that Mexicans were going to pay for a wall” and that President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall with Mexico was really just a “metaphor for border security.”

Rooney was back on CNN this Saturday and here's how he responded after New Day host Victor Blackwell played a series of clips of Trump tossing red meat to his base at these rallies he loves so much, along with one of Rooney's campaign ads, where he talked about how he'd worked in the construction industry, and knows "a thing or two about building walls."

BLACKWELL: So is this metaphor talk now just an excuse for the inability to get the wall started in the first six months?

ROONEY: No. I think first of all, as I said, there are areas where a big wall will be part of the solution. There are also areas where we need something different than a wall, or we need a wall that's removed a bit from the Rio Grande.

But the metaphor part is the broad based feeling of frustration and insecurity all across our country over what's happened with terrorism and people crossing our border and our broken VISA system that half the people that half the people in this country came in legally and overstayed that we need to fix.

That's what I mean about the metaphor and a small word, wall, for a big problem, border security and individual security.

BLACKWELL: The president has also said before the inauguration and since the inauguration that Mexico will pay for the wall. Do you believe that?

ROONEY: No, I don't think Mexico will pay for the wall. I think he was maybe speaking in a campaign hyperbole or whatever, but I don't think Mexico will pay for the wall.

BLACKWELL: Could your repeat that. He was speaking in what?

ROONEY: It could just be campaign words, you know... but I don't...


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BLACKWELL: But campaign words are the basis for which, or on which that voters selected Donald Trump. So are we now supposed to dismiss the promise that Mexico will pay for the wall? That's why potentially some people voted for him.

ROONEY: Well, I don't know if they voted for him because of who was going to pay for it, or if they voted for him because they wanted to see our border strengthened and bring security back to the American people. That's what I get back more to this broader metaphor idea.

Rooney knows full well they never meant any of it, and Trump admitted as much during his call with Enrique Peña Nieto:

President Trump made building a wall along the southern U.S. border and forcing Mexico to pay for it core pledges of his campaign.

But in his first White House call with Mexico’s president, Trump described his vow to charge Mexico as a growing political problem, pressuring the Mexican leader to stop saying publicly that his government would never pay.

“You cannot say that to the press,” Trump said repeatedly, according to a transcript of the Jan. 27 call obtained by The Washington Post. Trump made clear that he realized the funding would have to come from other sources but threatened to cut off contact if Mexican President ­Enrique Peña Nieto continued to make defiant statements.

The funding “will work out in the formula somehow,” Trump said, adding later that “it will come out in the wash, and that is okay.” But “if you are going to say that Mexico is not going to pay for the wall, then I do not want to meet with you guys anymore because I cannot live with that.”

He described the wall as “the least important thing we are talking about, but politically this might be the most important.”

Heaven forbid any of them ever admit they were lying to their supporters though. Trump was caught on tape and they continue to keep up the farce.

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