President Donald Trump loves to talk about walls. He rose to prominence on the promise of building a border wall blocking off Mexico that has yet to materialize, but that’s not stopping him from touting the project anyway. This week sitting alongside Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez in the Oval Office, he launched into a lengthy, conventionally Trump-ian explanation of how the wall is supposedly already under construction and set for further expansions, despite the fact that the reality is significantly different.
Still, discussing whether or not he’d approve further federal government funding without the billions in funding he wants for the border wall project, Trump insisted:
‘We’re building a lot of wall right now with money that we already have. When people see what we’re doing, I think they’ll be very surprised. We’re doing a lot of work, and we have plans to do a lot of work… I don’t want to see a shutdown. A shutdown would be a terrible thing… We already have a lot of money where we’re building existing wall with existing funds, but I have a lot of options… We have options that most people don’t really understand.’
As he indicated, the possibility of a shutdown should Trump refuse to sign spending legislation that covers time beyond Friday continues to loom. For over a month including most of January, Trump refused to reopen the government under very similar circumstances but eventually relented without the border wall money he’d been demanding.
Concurrent to that meltdown, Trump has repeatedly threatened to declare a national emergency in an effort to use executive authority to redirect already appropriated money for the wall, mostly from the Defense Department.
That’s not all he’s talking about here, however. Recently, he apparently tasked acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney with “combing” the law to find loopholes he could use to get money for the wall without declaring a national emergency, and that work has apparently culminated in a target on money from two Army Corps of Engineers’ flood control projects in Northern California and money that was originally set aside as disaster relief funds for California and Puerto Rico.
Trump would be redirecting that money to the border wall project via executive order, according to the plans, and not utilizing a declaration of national emergency — although that alternative could attract legal challenges just like a national emergency declaration.
To be clear, there’s not a national emergency as Trump claims in the first place. Undocumented immigrants do not pose a documented criminal threat above that posed by native-born Americans.
Still, Trump has pressed on with his egotistical rhetoric anyway. Although he’s claimed to have the wall already under construction, in reality, the vast majority of what he’s talking about is simply the update of existing fencing. Late last year, one such project got capped off at the border in California with a commemorative plaque calling it the completion of the first section of Trump’s wall — despite the fact that again, it was simply a modernization project.
In other words, Trump is backed up by lies at every turn. He’s not actually addressing a crisis that doesn’t actually exist.
Featured Image via Screenshot from the video