WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sources close to President Donald Trump are telling the media at the time of publication that he has, in his mind, come up with a way to salvage a central campaign promise he made last year. Funding a new wall on America’s southern border was something Mr. Trump said that Mexico, the southern neighbor to the United States, would pay for it. However, the Mexican government has rebuffed Trump on this point for months, and now the president is threatening to allow the federal government to shut down if Congress doesn’t send him a debt ceiling bill that also includes funding for the wall.
While key Republicans like House Speaker Paul Ryan have indicated he doesn’t want the government to shut down over border wall funding, aides say Trump may have come up with a way to have Mexico eventually pay for the wall.
“Why don’t we just sell Mexico the WMD we found in Iraq,” Trump asked his advisers this week, according to several highly placed sources, “and then we basically just pay ourselves back for building it. Man is this a genius idea or what?”
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Trump proposed his idea with Chief of Staff John Kelly in the room. Reportedly, Kelly tried to dissuade Trump. Kelly told the president there could be some “major issues” in trying to implement this new plan.
“Sir, are you sure you want to do that? I foresee several major issues with getting it done,” Kelly said to Trump.
The president shook his head.
“I said that we’d get them to pay for the wall one way or the other, didn’t I,” Trump asked rhetorically, “and damn it we all know I need this. My Muslim ban has been watered down, Obamacare is still the law of the land, and I keep having to hire and fire new people every week! Just give me this win, John!”
Kelly again pressed Trump to reconsider.
“Mr. President,” Kelly said, “I don’t know that we can do it, really.”
Trump wasn’t sure what Kelly meant. He asked him to explain. Kelly took a deep breath and tried.
“Well, for starters,” Kelly said, “We, um, don’t have any WMD from Iraq? The only ones they found, years later, were the old ones we sold them in the Reagan Era.”
Trump was still confused.
“So,” Trump asked, incredulously.
“So…we can’t sell them weapons we don’t have, sir,” Kelly said.
President Trump again shook his head.
“And so you go out and get some John! Jesus, do I have to think of everything around here,” Trump asked rhetorically.
Kelly sighed again.
“Go out and get what, exactly, Mr. President,” Kelly asked.
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“IRAQI WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION! Do I need to draw you a picture,” Trump was incensed.
Kelly sighed one more time.
“So, you want me to go out and procure weapons of mass destruction from Iraq,” Kelly asked.
“Yes, finally you get it,” Trump said.
“And you know those weapons don’t exist but you want me to get some,” Kelly confirmed.
“BINGO,” Trump bellowed.
A pause. A beat. A moment of reflection and perhaps regret washed across Kelly’s face.
“I’ll see what I can do, sir,” Kelly said.
Trump leaned back in his chair, put his feet up on the Resolute Desk, and told Kelly to send Ivanka in so he and she could “talk about the first thing that pops up.” Kelly noticeably shivered as he told the president he’d summon his daughter.