During the Sad Man Rambles Show yesterday, Donald Trump brain-farted out something about his vanity wall, which has evoked a steady stream of lies and misinformation since he first claimed Mexico would pay for it.
At around minute 37 of his speech — while most of the White House press corps was thinking about the leftover pad Thai they were going to have for dinner or their kids’ science project or whether their families would notice if they were replaced by a clone and went to live in a refrigerator box on a beach in Bora Bora — Trump expectorated this:
“The wall, which you never hear about, is up to 210 miles long. One of the reasons we’re setting a record is we have so much wall built, and we’ll have it up to almost 500 miles very early next year. By the end of this year we’ll be over 400 miles. We’re up to 210 miles of serious wall. This is a wall that people aren’t penetrating. This is a very, very powerful wall. It will be up there a long time.”
Right away that’s a tipoff. When Trump goes out of his way to mention how great something he did is, there’s a good chance that thing is actually a raging Australia-sized, diaper-island wildfire.
But before we get to that — as you probably guessed, no, Trump hasn’t built 210 miles of new wall.
According to CBP, 167 of the 194 miles of “new border wall” built as of May 22 was “in place of dilapidated and/or outdated designs.” Another 24 miles was secondary wall, some of it replacing dilapidated designs and some of it where there had not previously been secondary barrier.
The 194 miles of new fencing built under Trump includes only about “3 miles of new border wall system constructed in locations where no barriers previously existed,” CBP notes.
Oh, but it gets better (or worse, actually). Because a Washington Post story published just a day before Trump’s Churchillian address noted that people are penetrating Trump’s wall so consistently that Customs and Border Protection is soliciting help in solving the problem:
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has asked contractors for help making President Trump’s border wall more difficult to climb over and cut through, an acknowledgment that the design currently being installed along hundreds of miles of the U.S.-Mexico boundary remains vulnerable.
The notice of the request for information that CBP posted gives federal contractors until June 12 to suggest new anti-breaching and anti-climbing technology and tools, while also inviting proposals for “private party construction” that would allow investors and activists to acquire land, build a barrier on it and sell the whole thing to the government.
This should hardly be a surprise. Unless you line the wall with frickin’ lasers, this is going to continue to be a problem because humans are, well, smart. (Or some of them are, anyway.) Trump’s vaunted wall is apparently pretty easy to saw through and/or climb. Because, duh. It’s a fucking wall, not a force field.
CBP has not said publicly how often smuggling crews have breached or attempted to breach the structure. Records obtained by The Post via the Freedom of Information Act indicate there were 18 breaches in the San Diego area during a one-month period last fall. The San Diego area has some of the most formidable barriers along the entire border, and construction of new double-layer fencing there is largely complete.
Smuggling crews have nonetheless managed to saw through the steel bollards using commercially available demolition tools such as reciprocating saws with inexpensive metal-cutting blades. Others have fashioned long, improvised ladders out of cheap rebar. More-athletic fence jumpers have been seen using rope ladders to climb up the barrier, sliding down the other side by gripping a bollard like a firehouse pole.
So there you go. More gaslighting from the prevaricator-in-chief.
If only Trump could build a wall that George Floyd could look down on and truly be proud of. But, sadly, this is just another huge fail.