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:
— Cameron Joseph (@cam_joseph) January 26, 2017
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:
This is the opposite of making Mexico pay for the wall. This is money paid by US consumers to pay for the wall. https://t.co/DIGJQN9Uyq
— Liam Stack (@liamstack) January 26, 2017
ex-Obama WH economic adviser Goolsbee on Trump plan to finance border wall w/20% tax on Mexican imports: “a dagger to heart of supply-chain”
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) January 26, 2017
Ppl don’t seem to get this: If Trump puts 20% tax on Mexican imports to US to pay for wall, he’s shifting cost to US consumers. WE PAY 4 IT!
— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) January 26, 2017
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.
Now, according to Twitter, Spicer is saying that it was just a thought. Oh my God. These are spoiled children playing with loaded guns. 8/
— Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) January 26, 2017
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.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.