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As we keep noting, Trump is singularly obsessed with the border wall and its political symbolism and is advancing a dizzying array of risky schemes to claim his own version of ‘mission accomplished’ no matter the cost to the country, private landowners, or the constitution’s separation of powers. Two stories from over the weekend underscore the costs and political motivations of Trump’s obsession with delivering on his rally chants:
An NPR story, “$11 Billion And Counting: Trump’s Border Wall Would Be The World’s Most Costly,” notes, “The pricetag for President Trump’s border wall has topped $11 billion — or nearly $20 million a mile — to become the most expensive wall of its kind anywhere in the world.” Of note, this price tag does not even include the costs of seizing private land and related legal battles, nor the costs associated with raiding the military budgets.
Meanwhile, The Hill story, “Trump administration installs plaque marking finish of 100 miles of border wall,” highlights that the Trump administration “installed a plaque on a new barrier along the southern border commemorating the construction of 100 miles of President Trump’s long-sought border wall,” with Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf calling the 100-mile total a “milestone” and one deserving “celebration.”
According to Douglas Rivlin, Director of Communication for America’s Voice:
The border wall itself is a massive $11 billion blunder paid for by taxpayers, stealing from the military, seizing land from property owners. It is a wasteful and offensive monument to Trump’s ego and the commemorative 100-mile plaque is a perfect encapsulation of the larger self-congratulatory obsession that’s driving this whole stupid focus on the border wall.
It also begs the question: will Trump put up a plaque at the sites of each private home or farmhouse they bulldoze after they seize private landowners’ property along the border? What about at the planned locations of the military schools and Pentagon construction projects that won’t be built as a result of Trump seizing the funding for his wall construction? Maybe they should add a plaque to each of rally sites where Trump promised Mexico – not the U.S. taxpayer – would pick up the tab for the wall construction?
The 100-mile plaque smacks of Trump’s ‘mission accomplished’ moment, despite the fact that most Americans rate his immigration and border wall policy a failure and fiasco. Or perhaps it is the type of detail you’d expect to hear about under an authoritarian regime, not a stable and serious democracy.