In his Friday babble-a-thon in front of the assembled media, Donald Trump made dozens of claims that seemed unlikely, unsupported, untrue, and often simply ridiculous. But one of his statements about building a wall along the nation’s southern border immediately stood out.
This should have been done by all of the presidents that preceded me. And they all know it. Some of them have told me that we should have done it.
“Some of them” certainly implies more than one. But so far, Trump has yet to name a single example. In fact, as CNN reports, former presidents have lined up to say they never said any such thing. Jimmy Carter was quick to state that he has not discussed building a wall with Trump, saying, “I do not support him on the issue.” Spokespeople for both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton deny that either former president has so much as talked about the idea of a wall, much less approved it, with Clinton’s spokesperson going so far as to say that he hasn’t spoken to Trump at all since the inauguration.
That limits the scope of Trump’s “some” to Barack Obama. And the idea that Obama told him that he really should have poured concrete the length of the border is beyond unlikely. Because, while President Obama hasn’t spoken directly to Trump’s statement, he has spoken on this subject many times, declaring that “A nation ringed by walls would only imprison itself.”
Pence: Well … you … you … you … you. I know the president has said that, uh, that was his impression, uh, from previous administrations, previous presidents. I know … I know … I’ve seen clips of previous presidents talking about the importance of border security and illegal immigration.
Pence’s ridiculous “I’ve seen clips” answer then gets the usual Trump-surrogate shuffle.
Reporter: That’s different from telling the president, though, right?
Pence: Look, you know, honestly, the American people … the American people want us to address this issue.
The number of American people who “want us to address this issue” by declaring a national emergency and turning the southern border into a permanent military encampment may be larger than the number of presidents who told Trump a border wall was a good idea. But not by much.
“Which former presidents told President Trump, as he said, that he should’ve built a wall? All their representatives have denied that that was the case.” @halliejackson to @VP Mike Pence pic.twitter.com/7xAH05aheE
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) January 8, 2019