It’s looking like the only thing larger than Donald Trump’s “big, beautiful wall” will be the price tag.
Reuters got a preview of a new DHS report that puts the estimated cost of his US/Mexico border monstrosity at up to $21.6 billion, nearly triple the estimate that Trump had put forward about a year ago as a Presidential candidate. But wait, there’s more.
According to MSNBC’s Kyle Griffin, some budget folks in DC think that the real construction costs could balloon up to $50 billion “when all is said and done.”
$50 billion. Not $50 billion to finally get the residents of Flint, Michigan clean drinking water, or $50 billion for public schools so that teachers don’t have to keep buying their own supplies, or $50 billion for the upkeep of our roads and bridges. $50 billion for a monument to Donald Trump’s hatred and ignorance that — guess what! — Americans will end up paying for because Mexican leaders have already told him in both English and Spanish that they aren’t paying for the damn thing.
Plus, that doesn’t even include the costs for yearly maintenance it would require. And you thought his Trump University victims were the only Americans getting scammed?
According to the report, there would be three construction phases spanning 3.5 years, with the first to begin in September. The divider would be a combination of walls and fences to span the roughly 1,250 miles (2,000 km.) not already covered by the 654 miles (1,046 km.) of barriers already in place.
Reuters writes that the report “does not account for major physical barriers, like mountains, in areas where it would not be feasible to build,” and adds that the U.S. government would need to secure eminent domain and environmental waivers as well as adhere to requirements laid out by the U.S.-Mexico International Boundary and Water Commission.
Trump, however, continues to express certainty about the wall, saying Wednesday: “I wasn’t kidding. I don’t kid.” Referring to recently confirmed Kelly, he said, “We will give him a wall, and it will be a real wall.”
Political commentator and former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich has called the wall “an even dumber idea than most of [Trump’s] others,” while Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA argued that it “would say that those from outside the United States, especially from Latin America, are to be feared and shunned—and that is just wrong.”