Trump's Visit to the "Wall" this Week, Another Symbol of His Failed Presidency
Donald Trump is planning a trip to his "Big Beautiful Wall" this week as he closes out his chaotic term of office. That is fitting because it's the perfect symbol for his failed presidency, his lies, bigotry, and distain for the environment and expertise. Let's count the ways.
1. Bigotry: Right-wing talk radio personalities had been advocating for a wall along the southern border for years and Trump understood the "barbarians at the gates," symbolism, combining racism, xenophobia and fear of the growing diversity in America. The Public Religion Research Institute has done some excellent research on the issue.
PRRI, CNN: "Two-thirds of wall supporters say the growing number of immigrants [legal & illegal] “threatens traditional American customs and values,” while four-fifths of opponents say the change instead “strengthens American society.” ...
... "Perhaps most dramatically, almost two-thirds of wall supporters said discrimination against whites is now as big a problem as discrimination against minorities. Three-fourths of wall opponents rejected that view."
The wall combined with his proposed "Muslim ban" signaled Trump's intent to protect the primacy of "traditional" America and was the centerpiece of his outreach to blue collar and white Evangelical voters.
2. Lies: Mexico didn't pay for the wall and the suggestion that they would is the butt of endless jokes among Mexicans. Mostly they are surprised that some Americans were gullible enough to believe such nonsense. The project has cost US taxpayers $15 billion so far, most of the money diverted from the military budget.
3. More Lies: While visiting the wall, Trump will claim to have built 450 miles of new fencing, but that isn't true. Most of the construction was replacement for older barriers. Actually, he built about 40 miles of new fencing along the 2000 mile border. To be fair, the new barriers are superior to the older fencing, but don't expect the President to be honest about what has been accomplished.
4. Trump's love of symbolism over substance: Effective policing of our southern border should combine high tech solutions like drones, with adequate personnel and physical barriers. The "Great Wall of Trump" was "theater" that undermined an integrated strategy that security experts and the Border Patrol had advocated.
Council on Foreign Relations: "The president’s obsession that only more concrete slabs or steel slats can better secure the U.S. southern border fundamentally misunderstands what walls have always been... Worse, the wall debate is preventing policymakers from deliberating effectively on how to re-calibrate the utilization of personnel, technology, and physical barriers for improved border security."
The Biden administration won't tear down the sections of wall that Trump built, but they will get back to an fully integrated solution that relies more heavily on cutting-edge technologies.
5. Trump's distain for environmental concerns: In these pages, we have documented Trump's efforts over the last four years to gut the Environmental Protection Agency. His cavalier attitude toward environmental concerns also extended to building the wall on the southern border.
To get some of his proposed wall built quickly, Trump focused building on land the United States already had title to because many individual landowners have gone to court to stop the federal government from taking their property through eminent domain.
ABC News: "The administration prioritized areas where the wall could be built more quickly, and crews have blasted hills and bulldozed sensitive habitats in national wildlife refuges and on American Indian land to do it."
NBC: "Dozens of miles of towering border wall ordered by the Trump administration were rising across the rugged landscape in southern Arizona, displacing century-old cacti and cutting off migratory paths for jaguars and wolves. Ancestral lands and sites considered sacred by local Native Americans were also threatened after the administration declined to consult tribal groups as normally required under federal law."
So, yes, Donald Trump's final visit to his $15 billion vanity project is quite appropriate, and for another reason as well. One of Joe Biden's priorities will be to stop construction soon after taking office, to get back to a more nuanced conversation about immigration and our southern border. That's long overdue.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content