In interviews with CNN, a number of Republicans suggested that Trump’s claim amounted to wishful thinking, saying they believed the billionaire businessman would ultimately backtrack on one of his central campaign promises.
“I doubt that they’re going to pay for it,” said Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, the longest-serving Senate Republican, referring to Mexico. “There’s a lot he could do if he wanted to (force Mexico’s hand). In all honesty, I don’t think that’s going to happen.”
Rep. Mike Coffman, a Colorado Republican, added: “I never thought that would happen. I thought it was a gimmick.”
And some conservatives warned Trump would face a backlash if he failed to follow through.
“I’m for building a wall,” said Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama. “And I’m for Donald Trump keeping his promise to the American people that Mexico pay for it.” He added that he would be “disappointed” if Trump failed to deliver.
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