ASSET: “As for the concrete, I said I was going to build a wall. I never said, ‘I’m going to build a concrete.’ I said I was going to build a wall.” – Rose Garden press conference on Friday.
FACTS: In fact, he said he would build a concrete wall. Trump even repeated that promise last week, dismissing his outgoing White House chief of staff John Kelly’s assertion that Trump had abandoned the notion of “a solid concrete wall at the start of the administration.” .
“An all-concrete wall was NEVER ABANDONED,” Trump tweeted Dec. 31. “Some areas will be completely concrete, but Border Patrol experts prefer a transparent wall.”
An all-concrete wall was NEVER ABANDONED, as reported by the media. Some areas will all be concrete, but Border Patrol experts prefer a transparent wall (so you can see what’s going on from both sides). It makes sense to me!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 31, 2018
During the 2016 campaign, Trump pledged to build a “big, beautiful wall” of concrete, rebar and steel along the length of the southern border with Mexico. At the time, he lashed out at the suggestion that what he was offering had something in common with simple fencing.
“Jeb Bush just talked about my border proposal to build a ‘fence,’ he tweeted in 2015. “It’s not a fence, Jeb, it’s a WALL, and there’s a BIG difference !”
Jeb Bush just talked about my border proposal to build a “fence”. It’s not a fence, Jeb, it’s a WALL, and there’s a BIG difference!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 25, 2015
He now often refers to the wall as “steel slats”.
“Steel is stronger than concrete,” he said on Friday. “If I build a steel wall instead of a concrete wall, it will actually be stronger than a concrete wall.”
ASSET: “When they say ‘build the wall’, I don’t say that anymore. I say ‘finish the wall'”.
ASSET: “We have already built a large part of the wall.” – Rose Garden press conference on Friday.
FACTS: He didn’t build much of the wall at all.
Trump’s claim is only supported when counting the work done under past presidents and ignoring the fact that the fences of previous administrations are not the towering walls he promised. The Secure Fences Act of 2006 created approximately 1,050 kilometers (650 miles) of border barrier. The money approved by Congress in March 2018 is to pay for 84 miles (135 km), but that job is not being done. Trump carried out a renovation of the existing barrier.
ASSET: “Drugs are pouring into this country. They don’t come through the ports of entry. When they do, they sometimes get caught.” — Rose Garden press conference.
FACTS: He is wrong to say that drug traffickers rarely or rarely use official border crossings for their trafficking. According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, land ports of entry are their primary means of bringing drugs into the country, not stretches of the border without barriers.
The agency said in a November report that the most common trafficking technique by transnational criminal organizations is to hide drugs in passenger vehicles or tractor-trailers when traveling to the United States through the ports of entry, where they are stopped and subject to inspection. They also use buses, freight trains and tunnels, the report said, citing smuggling methods that would not be smothered by a border wall.
ASSET: “The new trade deal that we have with Mexico and Canada – what we’re saving on that, just with Mexico, will pay for the wall many times over, just over a period of a year, two years or three years. So I see that as absolutely Mexico is paying for the wall.” — Rose Garden press conference.
FACTS: Mexico is not paying for the wall and nothing in the trade deal would cover or reimburse the cost of construction.
Trump assumes that a wide variety of economic benefits will flow from the deal, but they cannot be quantified or counted. For example, he said the deal would deter some US companies from moving operations to Mexico, and he attributes that possibility to a payment by Mexico for its wall.
The agreement updates the North American Free Trade Agreement, mainly preserving the liberalized environment of NAFTA with low or zero tariffs between the United States, Mexico and Canada, while bringing certain improvements for each country. Trump erroneously said it was “brand new. It’s totally different.”
Moreover, it is not in force. The agreement has not yet been ratified in any member country and its chances of obtaining legislative approval are not assured.
Trump has repeatedly argued that Mexico is footing the bill while insisting that $5.6 billion from the US Treasury be spent on building the wall. His demand and the Democrats’ refusal to meet it is the root of the budget stalemate that has shut down parts of the government.