Schumer: Middle class will pay for Trump's 'pointless' border wall
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerRussian interference reports rock Capitol Hill Clinton calls Trump 'Putin's puppet' amid reports of Russian interference in 2020 election New York man accused of making death threats against Schumer, Schiff MORE (D-N.Y.) blasted the Trump administration on Friday for floating a tax on Mexican imports to pay for the president's proposed border wall.

"The Wall is divisive [and] unnecessary," Schumer said on Twitter. "Law enforcement [and] border states’ leaders agree. It's a pointless burden on the American people."
 
He added in a statement that instead of Mexico paying for the wall, Trump and Republicans "would have the American middle class pay for the wall." 
 
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"The costs for everything from groceries, to cars, to office supplies would go up by 20 [percent], making it harder for middle-class families to pay for things they need every day," Schumer said. 
 
White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Thursday floated a 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico as a way to pay for the border wall. He subsequently walked back that statement, noting that it was an option but not set it in stone. 
 
Trump has repeatedly pledged to make Mexico pay for the wall. He reiterated in an interview with ABC News this week that the Mexican government would pay the United States back for the border wall "absolutely, 100 percent," after taxpayers covered the initial costs.

"Ultimately it'll come out of what's happening with Mexico. We're gonna be starting those negotiations relatively soon. And we will be in a form reimbursed by Mexico," he said. 

Spicer's floating of a tariff, along with Trump's pledge to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, drew pushback this week from some Senate Republicans, who warned about unintended negative consequences.

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamWhere do we go from here? Conservation can show the way Barr to attend Senate GOP lunch on Tuesday GOP lawmaker makes unannounced trip to northeastern Syria MORE (R-S.C.) called the floated tariff "mucho sad." 

Meanwhile, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), the chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said Spicer's comments had been "widely misunderstood" but also called the tariff a "radical departure" from current policy. 

"it's going to be one of the main difficult challenges in trying to sell it. It's very difficult to understand," he told a local radio station on Friday.

Border-state Republicans have also questioned the wall, advocating instead for a combination of fencing, along with more surveillance and personnel.