As Donald Trump continues his crusade to make the world think he is temperamentally unsuited to be president, one of his signature moves has finally caught up with him: his grandiose plan to build a wall along the Mexico-U.S. border and make Mexico pay for it.
Mr. Trump boasted from the start of his campaign that he would build his "Great Wall" if elected. He has moderated himself at times, saying the structure might be part wall, part fence. But he hasn't strayed from the claim that this monument to his ego and his racism will stretch the continuous length of the 3,200-kilometre frontier, and that Mexicans will foot the bill.
Until last Friday, that is. Mr. Trump changed his story and said that Congress will find the money to start building the wall immediately, for the "sake of speed," and that Mexico will reimburse the American people afterward.
Don't count on it, American people.
Mr. Trump tried the same move in Scotland once. He failed miserably. It happened in Balmedie, where he built a golf course and was characteristically sniffy when some of the people living near the pristine coastline where the course is located refused to sell their homes to him. He called them pigs and said their homes were disgusting. And he erected a fence around one of the properties and sent the owners the bill, which they never paid and never will.
In the meantime, the US$1.25-billion investment Mr. Trump promised in order to win the needed permissions to build his golf course has become US$50-million. He also told the Scots he would create 6,000 jobs, but the actual figure was 95 at last count.
The president-elect blew it in Scotland, but he claims he has the leverage required to force the Mexican government's hand. He seems to be saying that Mexico's wall payments will be the price of enjoying continued free trade with the U.S. – a sort of Trump club membership fee.
It would be a shocker if it worked. It is unlikely that Mexico, or any country, would allow itself to be extorted into paying for another country's infrastructure as part of a trade deal.
So, America, don't be too certain that you won't be stuck with the multibillion-dollar bill for Mr. Trump's "Great Wall." The man has been known to overpromise to get the things he wants, and the rebate plan he is now selling you has a big hole in it.