“Believe me. Oh, do I know how to build? Greatest. One of the greats.”
President Trump really is pursuing his “great” wall along the U.S.-Mexico. But even if he gets the wall, it won’t be cheap. In fact, it’s getting more and more expensive by the day.
So much for fiscal responsibility.
A blunt timeline from Axios neatly explains that in just over a year, the estimated costs has skyrocketed from an initially floated $4 billion to upwards of $15 billion.
The first estimate what thrown by none other than Trump himself, who told Anderson Cooper during a CNN appearance:
“Let's say the wall cost $4 billion. You know, they say $10 billion. That means $4 billion if you know what you're doing and the $4 billion will be much bigger, much better, much stronger than the $10 billion. Believe me. Oh, do I know how to build? Greatest. One of the greats.”
Just two months later, he had revised his number upwards to between $6 and $7 billion during an interview with NBC News.
Over the next several months, virtually every time Trump threw out a number, that number went up. By February 2016, he was saying in a Republican presidential primary debate that the new estimate was upwards of $12 billion.
Fast forward to today and Republican leaders like House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, i.e. the guys who have shepherd through funding for a wall, have now pegged that number as “roughly” in the range of $15 billion.
“We are moving ahead, as the speaker pointed out to our group yesterday, with a [supplemental bill of] roughly $12 [billion] to $15 billion,” McConnell said during a press conference on January 25th. “So we intend to address the wall issue ourselves, and the president can deal with his relations with other countries.”
So, it almost doesn’t matter if you think the wall is a terrible idea or the best idea ever. The simple, undeniable fact is that it’s going to cost at least three to four times what Trump first claimed. And that’s before a single day of work has begun on the massive project.