Trump Has Built Just 3 Mi. of New Border Wall, Mexico Hasn't Paid For It, & It's Not “Impenetrable”
Donald Trump visited his border wall in Arizona yesterday as he seeks to get Americans to forget his rather embarrassing and poorly attended Tulsa rally. It was an odd choice because the wall is another of the President's long list of failures. He promised a "big beautiful," and “impenetrable” wall across the entire 1,954-mile Mexican border and so far he has built just 3 miles of new barrier fencing. And, in case you are wondering, Mexico still hasn't chipped in anything to cover the cost.
Trump often claims that he has built several hundred miles of border wall, however all but 3 miles of it are a replacement for older fencing in need of repair. Expensive, time-consuming lawsuits, filed by unhappy border residents, have stalled progress on new fencing. And, instead of Mexico paying the bill, Trump took money from other federal agencies to pay for it, much of it from the military and counter-narcotic operations. To add insult to injury, the new fencing isn't really “impenetrable” as a lot of folks have been cutting through or climbing over it and a section of it recently blew down. More embarrassing still is the price-tag. The Trump administration has reallocated about 15 billion dollars so far to build what Sen. Kamala Harris has called his "medieval vanity project."
Harris has a point; the problem with the wall isn't that it isn't getting built fast enough, or that Mexico isn't paying, or that you can cut through it with a cheap hand saw. The problem is that Donald Trump still thinks it's a great idea. Granted, Trump has few accomplishments to tout, but the wall certainly isn't one of them. So, why did he visit the wall in Yuma Arizona yesterday? We have discussed this before; the wall represents the central metaphor of the Trump presidency.
Illuminate: "But, the thing about the wall was that it was always a metaphor, a symbol of white backlash against the growing diversity in America. Building the wall represents keeping the brown people at bay. So, no one in the White House particularly cares that it's not an effective way to address illegal immigration or that more Mexicans have been leaving the country than entering since early in the Obama administration, or that today most illegals are entering the country legally and just overstaying their visas. None of that matters because it was never really about any of that. Trump's supporters cheer when he talks about the wall because it makes them feel like he understands their resentments, shares their fond memories of a snowy white America in which no one ever had to "press one for English."
And, in showcasing the wall yesterday Trump sought to reconnect with his base by revisiting the resentments that propelled his candidacy in 2016. In his speech in the afternoon to a group of students at a Phoenix megachurch he attacked the BLM demonstrators for tearing down confederate monuments, warned of illegal immigrant voters and repeated his bizarrely racist "kung flu" description of the coronavirus, which, of course, also doubles as an excuse for his bewilderingly incompetent response to the pandemic. Those nasty Asians tricked him, you see.
Vox: "Trump is still using racist terms to describe the coronavirus as Asian Americans continue to report hate incidents. Trump’s decision to lean into racist rhetoric — including terminology his own adviser, Kellyanne Conway, has condemned in the past — comes as Asian Americans continue to report hate incidents such as verbal abuse, physical assault, and property damage during the pandemic. As the coronavirus spread around the world, tropes that treat Asians as perpetual foreigners have also resurfaced, fueling racist and hostile anti-Asian sentiment."
So, get ready for more of this as the election approaches. Trump really doesn't have anything else to run on and he expects such attacks will energize his base. That's very sad.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content
Photo: section of border fencing, Nogales