President Donald Trump (R) and President Sauli Niinisto of Finland hold a joint press conference at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Monday. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 28 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump on Monday promised Mexico would pay for a wall along the U.S. border even if it means the country reimbursing Washington.
Speaking during a joint news conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto at the White House, Trump reiterated his idea that even if the United States has to pay for the wall up front, Mexico would eventually foot the bill.
"One way or the other, Mexico will pay for the wall," Trump said.
One day earlier, Mexico vowed it would not pay "under any circumstances."
"It may be through reimbursement, but one way or the other, Mexico will pay for the wall," Trump added. "We need the wall. It's imperative. We may fund it through the United States, but ultimately Mexico will pay for the wall."
Last week, Trump threatened to shut down the federal government if Congress didn't pass legislation to fund construction of the wall. On Monday, he said the shutdown threat was separate from federal funding needed in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and possibly Louisiana.
"It has nothing to do with it," Trump said.
"You're going to see very rapid action from Congress -- certainly from the president," he added. Speaking specifically to Texans, he said: "We're going to get your funding."
"We think Congress will feel very much the way I feel and in very much a bipartisan way," Trump said.
Also at Monday's news conference, Trump defended his decision to pardon former Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
"Sheriff Joe is a patriot. Sheriff Joe loves our country. Sheriff Joe protected our borders. And Sheriff Joe was very unfairly treated by the Obama administration, especially right before an election, an election that he would have won," Trump said. "So I stand by my pardon of Sheriff Joe, and I think the people of Arizona who really know him best would agree with me."
Trump also defended his decision to announce the pardon as Hurricane Harvey bore down on the Texas coast.
"Actually, in the middle of a hurricane, even though it was a Friday evening, I assumed the ratings would be far higher than they were normally," he said.
Niinisto last visited the White House in May 2016 at the invitation of former President Barack Obama. His visit Monday comes days after the Finland's largest private-sector pension fund reduced the number of U.S. stocks in its $53 billion portfolio. The move was prompted by what the CEO of the Varna Mutual Pension Insurance Co. said is a vacuum of leadership in the U.S. government.
"It seems as if there is no president in the U.S.," CEO Risto Murto said last week, also denouncing Trump's response to the protest violence in Charlottesville this month. "If I look at what is the moral and practical power, there is no longer a traditional president."
A number of business executives resigned from government advisory boards after Trump's comments.