offered in his New York Times column entitled Trump’s Five Craziest Arguments About the Shutdown.
It is from his 5th point, after these four:
1. This is a crisis! Terrorists are crossing the border! Rapists!
2. Only a wall can do the job. A big beautiful wall that stops people and drugs.
3. But this is a humanitarian issue!
4. The president doesn't need Congress. After all, he's the president!
Kristof offers decent explanations about why each of these arguments is crazy. You can go to the article and read them on your own, if you are so inclined.
But it is the explanation on this final argument
5. Anyway, Mexico will pay for the wall.
which starts with Trump’s most recent explanation, that through his new trade deal (which I remind folks is not YET ratified and in efffect) Mexico will pay for the wall many times over, that really caught my attention, and which I think is elegant, because it is focused on the one consistent characteristic we know about Trump, his greed and desire for self-enrichment.
Here is what Kistof offers:
ince Mexico will pay for the wall eventually, the problem now is one of cash flow. Fortunately, we have financial instruments to deal with precisely this issue.
I propose that Trump pay the $5.7 billion himself, and then the U.S. will repay him (with a nice interest rate) as the Mexican payments for the wall pour in. The Federal Reserve can verify the Mexican income stream and forward the sums to Trump.
Since he’s so confident that the wall will pay for itself, he should be delighted with this option. Right, Mr. President?
Of course, since almost going personally bankrupt (until his father bailed him out by buying millions in casino chips and paying no debts) Trump has tried very carefully never to commit himself financially except through OPM (other people’s money) for which obligations he can choose to walk away with apparent impunity (which is why no reasonably legitimate bank has been willing to loan him money for years [Deutches Bank being other that reasonably legitimate), he probably would be unwilling to make such a commitment, even if it were true that Mexico would pay for the wall many times over.
Besides, Trump does not have a net worth of anywhere near $5.7 billion. Fortune considered his net worth to be only $2.8 billion as of just under a year ago, and he was very far from having liquid assets that could be converted into cash.
Of course, maybe Trump could just turn to his main source of funds over the last decade. Do you think the Russian oligarchs around Putin and Jared Kushner’s new BFF MBS and maybe even the Qatari sovereign wealth fund would loan Trump the money for the wall?
I think I will just sit back, smile, and enjoy the 4-6” of snow already on my sidewalks and cars, with an equal amount still to come.
How about you?