It is often succinctly (and accurately, I think) invoked that in order to be a Trump supporter one must either be a billionaire or a fool, and if you’re uncertain what kind you are, check your bank account. The now discredited notion, however, that hairy hoards of drug-crazed, knife-wielding psychos are menacing America’s southern border with Mexico, and that the only credible way to stop them is to erect a giant wall, requires stupidity beyond the normal province of the usual Trump-endorsing idiocy.
No one understands this better than Nancy Pelosi and less than Donald Trump. But what’s more, Pelosi gets it that if the government is going to be entirely shut down because Congress will not fully fund Trump’s moronic border wall, then Donald Trump himself is going to have to accept all of the blame for the shutdown.
“But the fact is we did get him to say, to fully own that the shutdown was his,” Pelosi said, according to sources. “That was an accomplishment.” In the course of the meeting Trump lied about the effectiveness of those portions of the wall that have been built. Citing made up statistics for reduced unlawful border crossings in San Diego, El Paso, Tucson and Yuma, Trump insisted these places experienced recent steep drops in illegal border crossings of 90% or more.
If you replace the word “wall” with the word “fence” and reveal that the statistics Trump is quoting go back to the 1990s then there is some truth in what Trump is claiming. But these areas have, at best, only had reinforcement work done to existing fences. The wall remains unbuilt, and, it goes without saying, unpaid for by Mexico.
It is because of Trump’s failure to make good on his campaign promise to make Mexico pay for the wall that he has now had to turn to Congress for its funding. Threatening to shutdown the government if the funding is not forthcoming is his only recourse. That and his embarrassingly juvenile attempts to inflate a nonexistent threat at the border. All to create angst over a wall that still hasn’t been built to keep out hordes that aren’t there and to prevent a threat that doesn’t exist.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.