Trump's incoming chief of staff say Mexico won't 'technically' pay for a border wall: 'You and I both know that it cannot work exactly like that'

mick mulvaneyMick Mulvaney, acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Director of the Office of Management, listens during a news conference about fraud, Wednesday, July 11, 2018, at the Department of Justice in Washington.AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

  • Mick Mulvaney told ABC News that the US "can't spend any money from Mexico."
  • It's a far cry from President's Trump's campaign promise that "Mexico will pay for the wall."
  • On Saturday, White House officials said Mexico will pay for the wall, even though Trump shut down the government by refusing to sign a spending bill that didn't include $5 billion in wall funding.

President Donald Trump's incoming Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, told ABC News on Sunday that Mexico will "participate in our border security" - backtracking from Trump's repeated campaign promise to have Mexico pay for a wall.

"Technically, you and I both know that it cannot work exactly like that," Mulvaney said. "I can't spend any money at the Office of Management and Budget. The Department of Homeland Security can't actually spend money from Mexico. We have to get it from the treasury."

Mulvaney currently serves as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget in Trump's cabinet and, until recently, directed the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He's slated to serve as the White House's acting Chief of Staff in 2019, after John Kelly leaves the role.

On Saturday, White House officials told reporters that Mexico would pay for a wall along its border with the United States. But Trump shut down the government when he refused to pass a funding bill that didn't include $5 billion of the United States's money to construct a hypothetical wall. Officials on the call said the United States would bear the cost until it negotiated with Mexico to pay for a wall.

Mulvaney himself has been skeptical of building a wall in the first place. In a 2015 interview, he called Trump's plan "absurd and almost childish."

"The bottom line is, the fence doesn't stop anybody who really wants to get across," he said. "You go under, you go around, you go through it."

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