A $20 Billion Wall Defeated by $5 Ladder
It can be hard to keep track of all the developments that underscore that Trump’s border wall is wasteful, offensive, and ineffective. Last Friday, on the one year anniversary of Trump’s fake national emergency declaration on the border wall, we recapped five of the key points to remember about Trump’s wall obsession. Since then, the news has gone from bad to worse:
- $20 Billion Wall Defeated by $5 Ladders. As the El Paso Times reports, “Smugglers in Juárez have engineered camouflage hook-and-ladders made of rebar that blend in so well with the border wall that it can be hard to detect … The ladders appear to be made with two poles of 3/8-inch rebar and four thinner poles, outfitted with steps and bent over at the end in a U, to hook on the top of the wall. It’s the sort of cubed rebar support structure used in construction in Mexico, called castillo. Six meters of castillo costs 99 pesos, or about $5.30, at the Hágalo — or Do It Yourself — True Value hardware store in Juárez.” The newest ladder revelation follows on the heels of other reminders about the obvious ineffectiveness of a wall that can be climbed over, cut through, knocked down, and it must be left open for months at a time during the summer due to flood concerns
- Texas Republican Mac Thornberry Blasts Trump’s New Raid of Military Budgets. The news that President Trump is raiding an additional $3.8 billion from the Pentagon’s appropriated budget in order to fund wall construction isn’t sitting well with Texas Republican and Chair of the House Armed Services Committee Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX). The tab for American taxpayers is now more than $20 billion for a wall that Mexico would supposedly pay for, with only approximately one-quarter of that tab appropriated for wall construction and the majority being raided by President Trump from military budgets using the pretext of the fake national emergency declaration. In response to the latest raid of military funding, Rep. Thornberry stated, “The re-programming announced today is contrary to Congress’s constitutional authority, and I believe that it requires Congress to take action…Congress has the constitutional responsibility to determine how defense dollars are spent.”
- Trump Supporter “Lashes Out” at Border Wall Being Built on His Property. RawStory picks up on quotes from a Trump supporter interviewed by NPR who is just one of the many private property owners unhappy with Trump’s effort to seize private land to build the wall. Richard Drawe of Weslaco, Texas says, “I’m 70 years old and it’s gonna ruin my lifestyle here of living in the country.”
- Wall Cronyism Continues – Trump Waives Federal Contracting Laws to Speed Wall Construction. The AP reports that “The Trump administration said Tuesday that it will waive federal contracting laws to speed construction of a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.” The news is the latest reminder that cronyism is inextricable from the wall obsession – witness that Trump has tasked his son-in-law to lead the wall building effort and remember that Trump personally advocated that a $400 million U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contract was awarded to Fisher Sand & Gravel Co., a North Dakota firm owned by a prominent campaign donor.
- New York Times Editorial: Trump’s Wall “One of the Most Expensive Campaign Stunts Ever.” In an editorial recapping the stupidity and wastefulness of Trump’s border wall obsession, the Times editorial board writes that the wall is, “one of the most expensive campaign stunts ever. It is a potentially unconstitutional one as well, as the Defense Department prepares to divert more billions of dollars authorized by Congress from a variety of weapons programs to generate bragging rights for Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign … the expensive and useless wall has remained the centerpiece of Mr. Trump’s spiteful vision … a ridiculous price to pay so that the president can revel in chants of ‘Build the Wall’ from followers.”