Making It Up As They Go: Trump Team Now Pretending They Never Proposed 20% Wall Tax

Just hours after White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Donald Trump’s proposed border wall would be funded by a 20 percent tax on goods coming into the U.S., the administration is backing away, telling reporters that they were just suggesting “one way” to fund it.

“Our job right now isn’t to roll something out or be prescriptive,” Spicer said not long after rolling out the idea aboard Air Force One. “It’s to show that there are ways that the wall could be paid for. Full stop. That’s it.”

The full Spicer walk-back:

As Jason Easley noted earlier, the Trump spokesman had initially put forward the plan as if it was already in motion, saying that the 20 percent import tax was “taking shape.”

What likely happened, though, is that the administration saw the immediate backlash that ensued once Spicer made the first announcement. After all, Trump seems to spend most of his day watching cable news, and the response to the plan wasn’t good.

Here’s a small taste of the quick, negative response from reporters and economists:

It’s clear the White House doesn’t have a clue what they’re doing – and it seems to span all levels of the administration. Instead of offering thoughtful and realistic proposals, they’re just making it up as they go along.

If there is a massive, negative response to one of the flags they run up the flagpole, they quickly pull it down and start over again, pretending they never really made the suggestion in the first place.

The great Paul Krugman’s reaction to the walk-back may have been even better than the countless negative is responses to Spicer’s initial proposal.


The team that now occupies the Oval Office is one this country has never seen. Not only do they offer proposals, like the latest plan – which is no longer a plan? – that would hurt the American economy, but it doesn’t even seem like they have the basic capacity to make decisions or effectively communicate with each other.

This combination is dangerous.