The administration had made a deal with America’s neighbors to the south, one that Trump hated, that would send $10.6 billion to four countries. More than half would go to Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua. But Mexico would collect $4.8 billion.
The money was meant to help governments tackle poverty, drug trafficking and other violence – the root causes of the illegal immigration wave the president campaigned against. But on December 18, 2018, the national news media he loves to hate framed it as a surrender.
‘My f***ing friends are calling me,’ the president yelled at aides who had convinced him to make the deal. ‘This is the stupidest s**t you’ve ever done. Why the f**k would we do this?’
‘I’m not getting $5 billion for the wall, and instead I’m paying Mexico $5 billion? What the f**k am I getting out of this?’ he boomed.