The Jury Talks Back


Trump: If There’s a Concrete Wall in Front of You, Just Go Over It

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:37 am

Not President Trump, but Donald Trump addressing a bunch of college students 14 years ago:

If there’s a concrete wall in front of you, go through it, go over it, go around it. But get to the other side of that wall.

Off tape, he is reported* to have said: “If there are steel slats in front of you, saw through them”:

President Donald Trump has repeatedly advocated for a steel slat design for his border wall, which he described as “absolutely critical to border security” in his Oval Office address to the nation Tuesday. But Department of Homeland Security testing of a steel slat prototype proved it could be cut through with a saw, according to a report by DHS.

A photo exclusively obtained by NBC News shows the results of the test after military and Border Patrol personnel were instructed to attempt to destroy the barriers with common tools.

Physical barriers are important. “A wall” across the entire southern border cannot possibly happen but is not necessary; some physical barriers are. Calling what barriers are necessary “a wall” whips up partisans on both sides but is probably a needed simplification for inattentive voters. But a “wall” is not everything, and as the NBC News story shows, it is foolish to expect “it” to do too much. Border security is a multi-faceted problem that demands various responses, not just one.

Democrats aren’t interested in any of that. Increasingly, they appear to be in favor of a policy of purely open borders. The pittance that Trump is now demanding, $5 billion, is far less than he could have gotten if he had timed this fight for when Republicans controlled the House — and it’s not enough for “the wall,” which would cost more like $25 billion. But Democrats don’t want to give Trump even one extra dollar for border security. They take this position for two reasons: spite, and because Trump’s incredible political incompetence makes it possible. Remember?

I’ll tell you what, I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck. So I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it.

So now this is on him, which makes it easier for Democrats to dig in. And they have the added benefit that Trump, by his own rhetoric, shouldn’t need Congress to appropriate money, because remember? Mexico was going to pay for it. By the way, Trump is slowly backing away from that promise too:

Oh, OK. Was it going to be a credit card, or what?

This is the right fight, but at the wrong time, conducted in the wrong way. And it’s not the only fight.

Again I ask: why didn’t we have this fight when Republicans controlled the House? And I submit it’s the same reason that Republicans did not repeal ObamaCare. They want the issue more than they want results.

“We have the issue.” You see? Oh, you wanted results? Well, those will have to wait until we have 60 Republicans in the Senate — well, actually more like 65, since there will always be a couple of Murkowskis in the mix. You’ll get your results then.** But until then, give us money, because we have the issue.

Same as it ever was.

*Not actually.

**To be clear, “then” means “never.”


  1. Plasma torches and concrete saws are hardly common tools most migrants will be traveling with. Furthermore, any power tool powerful enough to make a dent in that gauge steel or concrete will make a heck of a racket alerting border patrol quickly. Besides, any barrier can be breached given enough time and effort/tools, that doesn’t mean their inefficient or ineffective.

    Comment by Sean — 1/10/2019 @ 11:18 pm

  2. The Israelis are amongst many that have found that walls work. So too has Hungary, which deployed razor wire across much of its southern border. Also, the EU’s land border with Africa has a multi-layer barrier that’s quite effective. (and before anyone roasts me for that one, yes, I actually do know geography, in this case of Spain’s enclaves in Morocco).

    Obviously,it’s geographically impractical to wall the whole border, but much of it can have barriers of one form or another. I know the areas around Yuma, Arizona quite well, and the barriers on that stretch of border have helped tremendously.

    As for Trump, he’s doing himself no favors by being so vague on the design of the wall. Also, any design that does not included barbed wire, razor wire, or similar, is a folly.

    Will the wall solve illegal immigration? Of course not, but it’s part of the mix. That mix needs to include ending the asylum abuse, streamlining deportation, ending chain migration and visa lotteries, and most importantly, E-verify.

    And yes, Trump is being perfidious on the “Mexico will pay for it” part. The fact of the matter is, he does have ways of making Mexico pay. Writing a check won’t happen, but the money can be taken from Mexico (and add central America to that hit list, please)via a levy on remittances, to name just one way.

    Trump would be well to bear in mind, on both the wall and making Mexico pay, that tossing aside a core promise without even trying to keep it has happened before. Remember “Read My Lips, no new taxes!” and how well that worked out for Bush Sr. during his reelection attempt?

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 1/11/2019 @ 12:42 am

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