Jorge Pérez, a Miami-based billionaire real estate developer, has declined to President Donald Trump’s offer to build his proposed Mexican border wall, calling the proposal “the most idiotic thing I have ever seen.” Pérez is a long-time friend of Trump and is responsible for building several Trump-branded buildings in southern Florida. It was natural for Trump to approach him to lead the infamous wall project.
However, Pérez, unlike Trump, is a canny businessperson who sees through the populist xenophobia rhetoric that is motivating the construction of a border wall. He told the press, “[The wall] is the most idiotic thing I have ever seen or heard in my life.” Beyond understanding the futility and waste of taxpayer funds, Pérez knows better than to believe Trump can somehow ‘make Mexico pay for the wall.’
Since Mexico has stated multiple times that they will in fact not be paying for the wall, Trump has proposed a border tariff on Mexican imports. A tariff is a tax added to foreign goods to discourage consumers from buying them. In other words, the ‘make Mexico pay for it’ tax would make Americans pay more for imported goods. Taxpayers would pay for the wall through normal taxes – and then pay for it a second time through the tariff. Pérez also noted that taxpayers would be further hurt by a potential trade war between America and Mexico.
Pérez was approached for a position in Ben Carson’s Housing Department, but he declined that as well, citing fundamental disagreements with Trump’s immigration and trade policies. Pérez told the press, “A wall for what? You think a wall is going to stop people that are hungry? Good employment in Mexico, economic growth in Mexico, equality is going to stop people from coming over the border.”
If only Trump could see past the lies being fed to him by alt-right white nationalist Steve Bannon, who was appointed to White House Chief Strategist. Unfortunately, at this point we have no reason to think Trump will listen to sensible opposition, even coming from a billionaire friend and business partner.
Marisa completed her undergraduate degree in 2013 at the University of Wisconsin with a double major in creative writing and media studies. She is an advocate of progressive policies and focuses her interests on gender equality and preventing sexual and domestic violence.