White House senior advisor Jared Kushner told the attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference outside of Washington, D.C., on Friday that the U.S. border wall with Mexico is progressing rapidly.
“As of today, we’re at 130 miles on the wall that’s been built, and by the end of the year, we are on track to have over 400 miles,” Kushner told Matt Schlapp, the president of the American Conservative Union, which hosts CPAC.
“We’ve finished most of the contracting, and what we’re seeing now is we’re doing about five miles a week,” he continued. “We hope in about two months, we’ll be over seven miles a week.”
Kushner noted as the wall has gone up, it has freed up border patrol officers to focus their attention on other issues like the flow of illegal drugs into the United States.
Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents arrested a US citizen attempting to smuggle meth, heroin and cocaine through the I-8 immigration checkpoint last Friday. Details: https://t.co/fw60DCiRJi pic.twitter.com/Gl0fx1CZkB
— CBP (@CBP) February 28, 2020
“Drug interdictions have gone up tremendously, border crossings have gone down,” he said. “The team in Homeland Security is really doing a great job now of securing the border.”
“And I think it’s going to get better and better as the wall continues to go up.”
— CPAC 2020 (Text CPAC to 56479) (@CPAC) February 28, 2020
Kushner said he jokes with President Donald Trump that only Trump could make the notion of a wall “controversial.”
“It’s a very unique talent that he has,” the president’s son-in-law quipped.
Schlapp responded, “There’s a wall and a wheel. You can’t outdo them.”
“He hasn’t made the wheel controversial yet,” Kushner replied, “but I would imagine if he starts campaigning on the wheel, the Democrats will be allergic to wheels and they’ll try to ban wheels from America.”
President Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner:
“Only Donald Trump could make the notion of a wall something that’s controversial… If he [Trump] starts campaigning on the wheel, the Democrats will try to ban wheels from America.”#CPAC pic.twitter.com/YmD2SnDkAh
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) February 28, 2020
The 39-year-old, who is married to first daughter Ivanka Trump, praised the president for his leadership ability.
“He’s not afraid to fail,” Kushner said. “He’s not afraid to try new things. He’s not afraid to take on challenges because they’re too hard, and that’s what you need from a leader.”
“He ran for president because he genuinely wanted to see problems solved, and he’s solved a lot of problems so far, but he’s getting better and better at the job and the team around him is getting better and better,” the White House advisor added.
Time reported some of the policy matters Trump has given Kushner purview over include “brokering peace in the Middle East, building a border wall, reforming the criminal-justice system, pursuing diplomacy with China and Mexico, and creating an ‘Office of American Innovation’ dedicated to revamping how the government works.”
Take a closer look as construction of this 5 mile border wall system is taking place in #YumaSector. This system will shore up glaring gaps in areas where we previously had only 4 foot high vehicle barriers that were consistently exploited by transnational criminal organizations. pic.twitter.com/CmYShqla8l
— Carl E. Landrum (@USBPChiefYUM) February 21, 2020
The former real estate developer — who does not receive payment for his White House work — is also engaged in Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign “overseeing fundraising, strategy and advertising,” according to Time.
In Las Vegas last week, Trump gave Kushner credit for shepherding the bi-partisan criminal justice reform law, the First Step Act, through the legislature in 2018.
“Jared Kushner … the father of criminal justice reform,” the president said at the Hope for Prisoners graduation ceremony. “He really is. I mean, he works so hard.”
Kushner also played a central role in the successful negotiation of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal approved by Congress earlier this year.
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