WASHINGTON • United States President Donald Trump has pushed back on assertions that the wall he wants built on the US border with Mexico would cost more than anticipated, and said he would reduce the price.
He made his comments in two Twitter posts last Saturday, but did not say how he would bring down the cost of the wall, a key election campaign promise that he says would help stem illegal immigration.
Reuters last Thursday published details of an internal report by the Department of Homeland Security that estimated the cost of a wall along the entire border at US$21.6 billion (S$30.7 billion).
During his presidential campaign, Mr Trump had cited a US$12 billion figure. "I am reading that the great border WALL will cost more than the government originally thought, but I have not gotten involved in the... design or negotiations yet," Mr Trump tweeted from his Florida resort, where he is hosting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. "When I do, just like with the F-35 Fighter Jet or the Air Force One Program, (the) price will come WAY DOWN!"
Mr Trump, who took office on Jan 20, said late last month that his administration had been able to cut some US$600 million from a deal to buy about 90 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters from Lockheed Martin.
But defence analysts and sources downplayed news of those cuts, saying the discount hailed by Mr Trump was in line with what had been stated by Lockheed for months, and would apply to other countries committed to the programme.