Fox News Host: Donald Trump 'Never Should Have Said Mexico Is Going to Pay for the Wall'

Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade believes President Donald Trump was wrong to say Mexico would pay for the southern border wall, but has defended taking money from, among other things, the construction of new elementary schools to fund the project.

A regular refrain during the Trump 2016 campaign, and early on in this administration, was "we're going to build a wall and Mexico's going to pay for it," a core part of his anti-immigration message.

Mexico refused to pay. Trump has since shifted to falsely claiming that Mexico would pay indirectly through a new trade deal and via fees charged to asylum seekers crossing the southern border.

In reality, after failing to win congressional approval for a budget that funded the wall's construction, Trump declared a controversial national emergency over what he claims is a "border crisis," unlocking powers that allow him to raid military budgets for the $3.6 billion.

Now, the Department of Defense has released a list of 127 military construction projects worth $1.7 billion that are now on hold because money is being diverted to Trump's wall. The wall, on current plans, will cover only one-quarter of the southern border's length by the 2020 election.

That $1.7 billion money for elementary schools and natural disaster-stricken Puerto Rico, prompting a backlash from Trump's Democratic opponents. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, called it a "slap in the face" of the U.S. Armed Forces.

"It's amazing," Kilmeade said during the Fox News show on Thursday morning. "The people that could not care less as President [Barack] Obama's administration starved the military year after year and watched it rot away, so the president for the last three years, as General [James] Mattis said, he got 80 percent of his requests approved. They will be rebuilding.

"They're taking a small percentage in reprogramming and delaying projects, not canceling them. But it didn't stop the sensationalist headlines. Most certainly people are concerned about military projects."

Kilmeade then displayed news headlines about the story, including one from The Daily Beast, which first published the list of affected military projects, stating: "Trump Raids Elementary Schools to Pay for Wall, Mexico Off Hook."

"The president never should have said Mexico is going to pay for the wall, though he says he's going to get it in fees at border crossings," Kilmeade said.

Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy said: "I think he did think initially that he would find a way for Mexico to pay for it. As we know, that did not work. The programs will still apparently be built as long as Congress reprograms funding money, or backfills it, so that those projects can go forward."

Donald Trump US Mexico border wall funding
This picture taken on August 28, 2019 shows a portion of the wall on the US-Mexico border seen from Chihuahua State in Mexico (R), some 100 km from the city of Ciudad Juarez. The US Defence Department said on September 3 it was freeing up $3.6 billion in funds budgeted for other projects to build a wall on the Mexican border as ordered by President Donald Trump. HERIKA MARTINEZ/AFP/Getty Images