Donald Trump has been running more or less on two things–his record as a businessman, and his promise to build a giant wall along the Mexican border and send Mexico the bill. But the yeomen at People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch discovered evidence that Trump’s own surrogates know that wall will never be built.
The most damning evidence may have come from the mouth of one of the major anti-immigration groups, the Federation for Immigration Reform. Last month, FAIR president Dan Stein told Omaha radio host Mark Tompkins that Trump isn’t talking about building a real wall. Right Wing Watch got a clip.
For most of the last year, when we’ve heard Trump declare, “I’m building a wall,” we’ve thought of an actual wall. Not so, according to Stein.
“People who believe he’s actually gonna put a brick on every centimeter of 2,000 miles are in a sense mistaking his intention.”
Earlier, Stein said that when Trump talks about a wall, he’s actually referring to “getting the border under control.” He’s talked with a number of ranchers along the border, and “they don’t see why you would need a border wall.” What they–and Trump–think is needed is “physical structures at certain high entry points” along the border. Stein added that when Trump talks about a wall, “the language he’s using is what you use in a political campaign.”
At least two of Trump’s surrogates in Congress have said Trump isn’t talking about a real wall. Blake Farenthold of Texas told Virginia-based right-wing host John Fredericks last week that he thinks Trump will only build a “virtual wall.” Listen to a clip here.
Farenthold said that a giant wall really doesn’t make sense from an economic standpoint. By his estimate, a Predator drone would cost the same as two miles of wall and be much more effective. Farenthold believed that it would make more sense to limit “vanishing time”–the amount of time it takes for an illegal immigrant to blend into the population. That can be done with aerial surveillance and “strategically placed walls” in urban areas, not a giant wall.
Chris Collins of New York, who was the first lawmaker to endorse Trump, also thinks Trump will just build a virtual wall. When pressed by The Buffalo News, he said, “Maybe we will be building a wall along some aspects of it; I don’t know.”
Former Governor Rick Perry of Texas told Snapchat’s “Good Luck America” on July 11 that Trump is only talking about building “a technological wall.” He added that while many Trump supporters and surrogates have talked about a 30-foot wall stretching from Brownsville to El Paso, “I know you can’t do that.”
And just hours before Trump accepted the nomination, The New Republic asked one of his biggest cheerleaders, conspiracy theorist and wingnut radio host Alex Jones, about Trump’s planned wall. Jones’ response?
“The border wall is just a metaphor. It’s ridiculous.”
These aren’t RINOs talking. These are Trump surrogates who are all no-questions-asked conservatives. And to a man, they’ve said that a real wall is simply not practical. The Anti-Defamation League agrees. Earlier this year, as part of a lengthy article knocking down immigration myths, the ADL concluded that building a wall is a pipe dream.
“The border between the U.S. and Mexico is almost 2,000 miles long. It spans difficult terrain, including deserts and mountains. Rivers flow along two thirds of the border. Much of the area is private property, which the government would have to buy from the owners to build a fence or wall, and many do not want to sell the land. The logistics alone make building a wall very difficult, if not impossible.”
Unless I’ve missed something, Trump never spoke up even once to claim he was indeed building a physical wall after his own surrogates said he probably wouldn’t build one. I can only conclude that this means Trump himself knows he’s not building a real wall.