Donald Trump claims any US money spent on border wall 'will be paid back by Mexico later'

A former Mexican president insisted the country will not pay for a 'racist monument'

US, trump, donald, mexico

File photo: cars wait to enter the United States from Tijuana, Mexico. Picture by Gregory Bull AP/Press Association Images

President-elect Donald Trump has insisted that any money spent by US taxpayers on a border wall will be repaid by Mexico.

Mr Trump reacted after Republicans said that the Trump transition team had approached Congress to pay the $14bn (€13bn) bill for the wall project.

That appeared to be a clear U-turn on Mr Trump's presidential campaign pledge to make Mexico pay for the construction. 

He appeared to confirm the reports on Friday - but said the media had twisted the story.

Posting on Twitter, Mr Trump wrote:

Yesterday, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said his government will work to "maintain and strengthen" economic, cultural and family relations between the US and Mexico.

Responding to the recent media reports, the former Mexican president Vicente Fox Quesada said Mexico will not pay for what he described as a 'racist monument'.

Mr Trump's transition team are exploring whether they can make good on his promise to build a wall without passing a new bill.

Under the evolving plan, the Trump administration would rely on existing laws allowing fencing along the southern border.

Whatever steps might be taken without Congress's approval, the wall is unlikely to match Mr Trump's extravagant promises.

He vowed to build an impenetrable wall along the southern border, built of hardened concrete, rebar and steel.

He said the wall would be as tall as his venues' ceilings, and would feature a "big, beautiful door" to allow legal immigrants to enter.

Most experts viewed such promises as unrealistic and impractical.

Mr Trump has since rowed back on aspects of the project, saying he would be open to stretches of fencing.