Scoot: The truth about President Trump’s call for a wall

February 12, 2019 - 1:08 pm

The truth about the battle over the wall is obvious - but only for those willing to accept the truth.

Last night, congressional negotiators apparently reached a tentative agreement on border security that could prevent another government shut down set to hit this Friday. Senator Richard Shelby (R) - Alabama expressed confidence President Trump will sign the compromise.

President Trump has been adamant about his demand for $5.7 billion in funding for a wall. The President and Republicans rejected a deal that included $25 billion for a wall because they were unwilling to concede to the Democrats’ request for a plan for DACA workers, so the deal was dead.

The tentative deal reached Monday night falls short of the President’s demand for $5.7 billion for a wall and dedicates $1.4 billion for a wall. In addition, President Trump’s insistence on 215 miles of fencing is replaced with funding for only 55 miles of fencing. The deal will also provide funding for new technology at border entry points, humanitarian aid - a demand from Democrats, plus additional customs officers.

At a campaign-style rally in El Paso, TX yesterday, President Trump seemed insistent on getting money from Congress for a wall but said “we’re building a wall anyway.”

Congressman Jim Jordan (R) - Ohio tweeted this

President Trump has continually promoted the urgency for a wall based on the current “border crisis” on the Southern border with Mexico and has warned that without a wall Americans will be the victims of violent crimes committed by illegal immigrants.

Proof that the wall issue is more about politics than national security lies in President Trump’s overuse of the word “wall.” Trump has said that it will be a wall in some places and more like a fence in other places, but there is no doubt that the President’s use of the word “wall” at rallies and beyond is nothing more than a rallying cry directed at his base. This is about marketing, and President Trump is a genius marketer.

Months ago, I suggested that President Trump may be more interested in fighting for a wall than actually getting funding for a wall. If funding is approved, the fight is over; and that does not serve the political marketing strategy of the President. It also seems obvious that if funding for a wall were approved now, not only would the fight be over, but the wall will no longer be a strong campaign issue. Also, it will take time to physically build the wall; and if there is such a real crisis at the border, as the President suggests, then what does he plan to do about our security while the wall is being built?


If President Trump does get funding for a wall, he can declare victory, but Democrats will quickly point out that he compromised for a shorter “fence,” not “wall,” with a fraction of the funding he had been demanding.

Funding for border security includes money for a fence/barrier in some areas, but it also includes money for more border agents, humanitarian aid and advanced technology for screening and monitoring the border. To prove this is more about politics than national security just think about how all of the areas where money will be spent and it is the wall that President Trump continues to focus on. He seems to deemphasize the other areas because that’s not what riles up his base.

President Trump continues to promote the “wall” even though he has admitted that funding will not go to build a “big, beautiful wall” as he promised during the 2016 campaign.  He has admitted it might be a fence or a barrier. Accurately calling it what it really is ignores the opportunity to reach the rhetorical common denominator that it takes to fire up the frenzy over the wall.

The new “C-word” that many politicians and voters never want to hear is “compromise.” Both President Trump and Republicans and the Democrats have shown their ability to stand up for what is best for their party over what is best for the American people. But the only way to break a stalemate in politics is to compromise, and that is the responsibility of both sides.

President Trump was willing to compromise last year over funding for a wall and border security, but he suddenly caved in and pulled back after he was roasted by a few conservative pundits. What will happen this time? Will President Trump stand up to his most adamant supporters and compromise, or will he continue the battle over the wall because that’s good for his political business?

The clue to the answer may come again - not from the White House - but from the conservatives that tell him what to do by reflecting his base.

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