Customs and Border Protection officials admitted this week that despite Donald Trump’s claims, not a single new mile of border wall has been built in Trump’s nearly three years in office.
Trump has repeatedly suggested he has kept his signature campaign promise — a massive wall along the entire U.S.-Mexico border funded entirely by Mexico. As recently as Wednesday, he claimed that “massive” sections were “going up rapidly.”
That claim is totally debunked by a document provided to Newsweek this week by CBP and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
In a border wall status update, the two agencies noted that, as of September 30, 2019, “approximately 69 miles of new border wall system have been constructed in place of dilapidated and outdated designs.”
They noted that they expect to have completed only part of the first 509-mile section by the end of 2020, undermining Trump’s promise that the wall will be completed within his first-term.
Trump made his border wall pledge for the first time at his June 2015 campaign kickoff. “I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me,” he said. “And I’ll build them very inexpensively, I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”
Trump also notably told Fox News in April 2016 that the wall would “be complete within two years from the time we start.”
Days later he told supporters, “If there’s ever a second term, you’ll say, man, he got that wall built fast, we’re going to put him up.”
In August 2016, Trump repeated the promise, adding, “On day one we will begin working on an impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful southern border wall.”
When Mexico made it clear that it had no intention of spending billions on Trump’s wall, Trump tried to get Congress to send the bill to the American people. And when even the GOP-controlled legislature balked, Trump began to simply pretend that the wall was already being built.
Meanwhile, the administration was instead busy replacing and renovating a few dozen miles worth of existing border fencing. Trump didn’t let this stop him from claiming that the new wall was “ahead of schedule.”
In February, he pretended a five month old video of fence repairs was proof that “THE WALL IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION RIGHT NOW.” His campaign even began displaying disingenuous “Finish the Wall” signs at rallies.
A few months ago, Trump declared a national “emergency” and announced that he would simply raid existing Defense Department funds to pay for parts of his wall — flouting the wishes of bipartisan majorities in Congress and ignoring his initial promise that Mexico would pay for it.
Massive sections of The Wall are being built at our Southern Border. It is going up rapidly, and built to the highest standards and specifications of the Border Patrol experts. It is actually an amazing structure! Our U.S. Military is doing a GREAT job.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2019
On Wednesday, he re-upped that claim.
“Massive sections of The Wall are being built at our Southern Border,” he tweeted. “It is going up rapidly, and built to the highest standards and specifications of the Border Patrol experts. It is actually an amazing structure! Our U.S. Military is doing a GREAT job.”
Published with permission of The American Independent.