In his first one-on-one interview since being sworn in, President Donald Trump said he will fulfill his campaign promise to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and that Mexico will eventually pay for it.
"Ultimately, it will come out of what's happening with Mexico ... and we will be in a form reimbursed by Mexico, which I've always said," Trump told ABC News.
Trump admitted that American taxpayers will pay for construction to begin, but that Mexico will burden the cost in the future.
"All it is, is we'll be reimbursed at a later date from whatever transaction we make from Mexico," Trump said. "I'm just telling you there will be a payment. It will be in a form, perhaps a complicated form. What I'm doing is good for the United States. It's also going to be good for Mexico. We want to have a very stable, very solid Mexico."
As for a date for construction to begin, Trump said it could only be a matter of "months."
"As soon as we can, as soon as we can physically do it," he said. "I would say in months, yeah. I would say in months - certainly planning is starting immediately."
According to The Washington Post, many Republican lawmakers believe Trump already has the legal authority to begin construction under the 2006 Secure Fence Act, which mandated 700 miles of "reinforced fencing" along the U.S.-Mexico border. Most of the proposed 700 miles has not yet been built to the way the law requires, according to PolitiFact. But the law has not been repealed and could still be enforced.
And that law had wide support from Senate Democrats at the time, including former President Barack Obama, who voted for it as a Senator from Illinois, as well as former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who voted for the law as a New York Senator.
Republicans have until April 28 to direct federal spending to begin construction of the wall, reported The Washington Post. With control of the House and Senate, Republicans have a good chance of doing that.
As a minority in both Houses, Democrats will have a difficult time trying to pass a bill that blocks the wall's construction, especially since many current Senate Democrats voted for the 2006 Secure Fence Act, according to GovTrack, including Democratic Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer of California, which has its own wall along parts of its border with Mexico.