If you’re the kind of liberal who enjoys a good chuckle at the expense of President Donald Trump, Wednesday was your lucky day.
According to a Bloomberg report, with the $1.57 billion that Congress gave Trump for the border wall last year, Customs and Border Protection has managed to erect a mere 1.7 miles of new fencing along our border with Mexico.
“The administration recently provided updated information to Congress on the status of its efforts as of April 30, 2019,” Donald Letter, an attorney for the Democratic-run House of Representatives, told a federal judge in a filing, Bloomberg reported.
The information was given to a judge in California hearing a lawsuit by the attorneys general of 20 states, as well as the Sierra Club, to block any wall being constructed with funds not explicitly authorized by Congress.
So, that Bloomberg headline — “U.S. federal wall funding of US $1.57B yields 1.7 miles of fence” — doesn’t look good for the Trump administration.
Beyond the headline, however, the facts are a lot more complex.
Rep. Mark Meadows, the North Carolina Republican who chairs the House Freedom Caucus, noted those facts in a Thursday tweet, complete with pictures.
Just met with @POTUS this afternoon. Reports of only a mile of additional wall being built on the border are misleading and inaccurate. In fact—500 miles of new wall expected to be complete by 2020. Vehicle barriers being upgraded to larger border barrier as well. pic.twitter.com/s3vYwJEHyL
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) May 23, 2019
Meadows wrote that “500 miles of new wall expected to be complete by 2020. Vehicle barriers being upgraded to larger border barrier as well.”
That wasn’t the only pushback on how the article characterized the wall construction. The president weighed in, too, as one might expect:
Much of the Wall being built at the Southern Border is a complete demolition and rebuilding of old and worthless barriers with a brand new Wall and footings. Problem is, the Haters say that is not a new Wall, but rather a renovation. Wrong, and we must build where most needed….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 22, 2019
Also, tremendous work is being done on pure renovation – fixing existing Walls that are in bad condition and ineffective, and bringing them to a very high standard!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 22, 2019
“Much of the Wall being built at the Southern Border is a complete demolition and rebuilding of old and worthless barriers with a brand new Wall and footings. Problem is, the Haters say that is not a new Wall, but rather a renovation. Wrong, and we must build where most needed,” he wrote.
“Also, tremendous work is being done on pure renovation – fixing existing Walls that are in bad condition and ineffective, and bringing them to a very high standard!”
According to The Daily Caller, an unnamed senior administration official told the news outlet that Bloomberg didn’t get its facts straight regarding the court filing.
“The Bloomberg article is wrong,” the official said. “The 1.7 miles are part of a 14-mile project specific to the San Diego Sector at a cost of $131 million (FY18 dollars).
“There are currently over 120 miles of new or replacement wall being constructed, and to say only 1.7 miles is completely false and misleading.”
Meanwhile, a Thursday report from Customs and Border Protection obtained by the U.K. Daily Mail indicated that 42 miles of wall had been completed with 110 miles being constructed.
“Since January 2017, approximately 205 miles of new and replacement border barriers have been funded through the traditional appropriations process and via Treasury Forfeiture Funding, of which approximately 42 miles have been completed to date,” the report read.
“According to a chart in the report, the sections of wall that are funded and in varying stages of contracting and completion include 86 miles of ‘new primary wall’ and 24 miles of ‘new levee wall.’ Also included are 68 miles of ‘replacement primary wall,’ 144 miles of ‘replacement vehicle wall’ and 14 miles of ‘replacement secondary wall,'” the Mail reported.
The report also suggests that 336 miles of wall are funded in total, both through congressional appropriations and Pentagon funding.
But that doesn’t quite sound as good to liberals as 1.7 miles of new fencing for $1.57 billion, does it?
That’s the problem with the wall: It’s one of the multitude of policies that the media seems to have tacitly taken a position on. All “objective” reporting then originates from that perspective.
That’s why we “know” the wall is ineffective, that it’ll never get funded, that it’s way over budget and that none of it is being constructed. Therefore, the numbers cited in the Bloomberg article will continue to be “known,” no matter how true they may be.
The headline may not have looked good for Trump, but the facts that undergirded it don’t look particularly good for whoever wrote it.
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