If the idea that the nation is currently shut down over “a wall” or “steel slats” or “a barrier” didn’t already seem idiotic enough, the truth is far, far worse than it seems. As the New York Times reports, there was never any actual factual basis for the wall. Instead, the whole idea was created by advisers looking to package immigration in a way that made it simple for even Donald Trump to remember.
As Mr. Trump began exploring a presidential run in 2014, his political advisers landed on the idea of a border wall as a mnemonic device of sorts, a way to make sure their candidate — who hated reading from a script but loved boasting about himself and his talents as a builder — would remember to talk about getting tough on immigration, which was to be a signature issue in his nascent campaign.
No one looked at statistics. No one considered alternatives. No one had a study, or a plan, or even a theory about how this would solve America’s immigration problems.
What they had was a need to create a term short enough, and an idea simple enough, that it could be repeated night after night, without Trump wandering off into discussions of how much he’d like to date his daughter, or how he’d like some chocolate cake. The entire idea of the wall—the entire idea—isn’t Trump’s. It’s not even a real strategy. It was just something his advisers fed him to keep him on topic.
“How do we get him to continue to talk about immigration?” Sam Nunberg, one of Mr. Trump’s early political advisers, recalled telling Roger J. Stone Jr., another adviser. “We’re going to get him to talk about he’s going to build a wall.”
The world’s greatest nation is being sidelined over a mnemonic aid.
The wall is a stupid idea. It’s an intentionally stupid idea. It’s an idea so short, blunt, and senseless that even Trump could spit it out night after night literally without thinking. Because the last thing his advisers wanted was Trump getting brain sweat all over the podium.
For Trump, they dumbed immigration down to one meaningless, pointless term. They didn’t care that it wouldn’t work because they, like everyone else, never expected Trump to be in a position to turn their idiotic sound bite into a physical object.
America could be grateful at this point that Sam Nunberg didn’t tell Trump to shout “bear traps” or “laser sharks.” But really, those ideas would be no more silly, and no more useless, than the boondoggle the nation is now facing.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.