The wall is a bee in Trump's bonnet

The wall is a bee in Trump's bonnet

Trump has said the wall will cost $12 billion, while Republican leaders in Congress have pegged its cost 20 percent higher than that.

A Mexican company has said it would "gladly" help with the construction of the planned wall on the USA southern border, if it is asked.

Trump said the wall would be an "effective weapon against drugs and crime".

"We're going to have a real wall, and who's going to pay for that wall?"

At least 180 companies have already declared their interest in working with President Trump to build his proposed wall along the USA border with Mexico, just three days after the government announced the contract bidding process was open.

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The president hasn't commented on it since taking office, however. The deal will still have to be cleared by the Justice Department.

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Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto cancelled a planned visit to the White House last month over the border wall issue.

Trump has walked back statements suggesting Mexico will immediately pay for the project since taking office, instead suggesting USA taxpayers may have to be paid back by the Mexican government for initially funding the wall's construction. "I know you're follow-up question is is Mexico going to pay for the wall?". Back in January, several outlets reported that Trump team members told GOP lawmakers they wanted to use a Bush-era law that would let Congress use tax dollars to pay for the project.

"He didn't say Mexico would pay for it", Stephanopoulos interjected.

The Mexican government offered no immediate comment on Trump's speech.

The Customs and Border Protection agency, a unit of the Department of Homeland Security, did not indicate where the initial phase of construction will begin. The new report has suggested that already 225 companies expressed their interest in the working of the project.