It is a metaphor for Trump. What was once proclaimed by his supporters as a symbol of American strength lies busted open and impotent on the washed-out desert floor, an Ozymandias for our time. “Nobody builds walls better than me,” Trump once boasted. Today his $21 billion boondoggle, consisting of only 15 miles of new barrier, has been beaten into ruins by Mother Nature.
In 2020, while Trump was still titular president, experts warned that floodgates in some places along the wall would need to be left open during heavy rains and flooding to avoid collapse amid surges of tons of water carrying rocks, sediment and other debris. Those floodgates were finally left open and — because of their remote location — they remained open for months at a time, leaving a gap through which anyone could easily pass.
In the end it made no difference. Floodwaters destroyed Trump’s “impenetrable” wall despite leaving the gates open. Much of the $27 billion wall that formerly could be defeated with a $5 ladder can now be breached free of charge.
In December of 2018 Trump sought to have an appropriation bill for 2019 include a funding measure on border security, providing billions of dollars toward construction of his new wall. The Democratic refusal to waste money for Trump’s useless and racist symbol was Trump’s justification for staging the longest shutdown in American history. In the end it came to nothing and Trump had to back down in defeated humiliation. In the end he funded what little of the wall he was able to finish by stealing money from other projects.
“Who could have predicted this? Ah yes, just about everyone,” wrote the author Brian Kahn in an article highlighting environmental threats the wall would encounter. In the end the tweets, the promises, the boasts, the longest partial shutdown in American history, the huge, stupid crowds of cretins chanting “build that wall!” came to nothing, to less than nothing, really. Most of the wall lies ruptured and defeated, ironically demolished by the very thing Trump neglected and even denied: global climate change.
Trump hoped the wall would be his legacy, and so it has become. It is a broken and defeated symbol of a broken and defeated presidency, a presidency of the worst human being ever to infest the sacred People’s House. Trump’s wall is rotting in the desert mud along with his putrid reputation. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.