Donald Trump ran for office on a promise of securing the southern U.S. border with a massive wall made of concrete, one that got “ten feet taller” whenever it was criticized by detractors.
Trump has not backed down from that campaign promise, although a few modifications have been made to what was initially envisioned.
Democrats have cried foul over the construction of a massive concrete barrier — and even the U.S. Border Patrol agents who demand a wall would prefer a barrier they can see through. So, the president recently shifted his talk of a border wall away from concrete in favor of concrete-reinforced “steel slats.”
The Hill reported that Trump reiterated that shift in vision on Sunday at the White House after he returned from a meeting at Camp David with administration officials, and seemingly trolled his anti-concrete detractors on the left by repeatedly emphasizing the “steel” aspect of his proposed border barrier.
“So we’ve been in touch with a lot of people, and I informed my folks to say that we’ll build a steel barrier, steel, it’ll be made out of steel,” Trump told reporters gathered on the White House lawn.
“It’ll be less obtrusive and it’ll be stronger, and we’re able to use our great companies to make it by using steel,” he continued. “So, we’re going to be doing a steel barrier, and that gives us great strength at the border.”
No doubt in reference to the Democrats, Trump reportedly added, “They don’t like concrete, so we’ll give them steel.”
Later on Sunday evening, Trump shared a similar message with his tens of millions of followers on social media: “V.P. Mike Pence and group had a productive meeting with the Schumer/Pelosi representatives today. Many details of Border Security were discussed. We are now planning a Steel Barrier rather than concrete. It is both stronger & less obtrusive. Good solution, and made in the U.S.A.”
V.P. Mike Pence and group had a productive meeting with the Schumer/Pelosi representatives today. Many details of Border Security were discussed. We are now planning a Steel Barrier rather than concrete. It is both stronger & less obtrusive. Good solution, and made in the U.S.A.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2019
In a separate report on Sunday which revealed that Trump has not backed down from his vow to secure the border with some sort of barrier, The Washington Post reported on a letter sent to congressional leaders that provided details on how the requested border security appropriations would be spent, while simultaneously asking for more funds and reiterating that the border barrier would be steel instead of concrete.
The letter came from Russel Vought, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, who stressed that a border wall was “central to any strategy” for border security, and specifically requested $5.7 billion for the construction of “234 miles of new physical barrier” that would be comprised of steel. It also introduced a new request for $800 million in funding to address the “humanitarian crisis” at the border.
The White House also released an official statement on Tuesday which mirrored the letter to Congress and called on them to “do more” while it also explained the various planned expenditures.
Aside from the requested $5.7 billion for the 234 miles of steel barriers, the administration also requested hundreds of millions in other border security-related funding requests — such as for certain new technologies, more Border Patrol and ICE agents, transportation and humanitarian supplies and more immigration judges and detention center beds.
The statement also conveniently listed the differences between their requested amounts and how much Congress had already offered to grant them, which revealed that the administration sought an additional $5.6 billion more than the grand total of $5.1 billion already approved by Congress … of which a mere $1.6 billion was allocated by Congress to repair existing fencing, but not for any new construction.
Trump has made it abundantly clear that he will build a border barrier one way or another, and while he would greatly prefer to obtain the necessary funding through the congressional appropriations process, he has said he could utilize alternative means, such as the declaration of a national emergency.
Though the ultimate design of the border wall may have changed from solid concrete to steel slats, the point remains that a wall of some sort will be built, with or without Congress, who can do little but fume as Trump trolls them with his beautiful and “aesthetically-pleasing” steel slats wall.
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