The New Collusion

Published: February 20, 2019

By Jim Lichtman
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Donald Trump’s new rally slogan has just one problem: it’s false.

With chants coming from his supporters at a recent El Paso, Texas rally, “Build that Wall,” President Donald Trump corrected them.

“…you really mean, ‘Finish that wall,’ ” Trump said, “because we’ve built a lot of it.”

In earlier rallies, Trump has said, “We’ve already started (the border wall). We started it in San Diego.”

In June 2018, Politifact reported, “There are projects underway to replace fencing along the border in San Diego and further east in Calexico. Those call for new and taller, bollard-style barriers, which include a comb-like array of steel posts that border patrol agents can see through, some of which were planned long before Trump ran for office.

“A recent appropriation by Congress of $1.6 billion allows for the replacement of the old fencing, but not for the construction of any sort of concrete wall prototype as Trump requested. … The same goes for the 2.25-mile barrier replacement project east of San Diego in Calexico” Politifact adds.

“ ‘First and foremost, this isn’t Trump’s wall,’ Jonathan Pacheco, a spokesman for the Border Patrol’s El Centro Sector, which includes Calexico, told the Los Angeles Times in March 2018. ‘This isn’t the infrastructure that Trump is trying to bring in. … This new wall replacement has absolutely nothing to do with the prototypes that were shown over in the San Diego area. … The $1.6 billion authorized by Congress for these projects does not allow for the construction of any sort of wall prototype requested by Trump.’ ”

In his White House Rose Garden speech last Friday in which he declared a national security emergency, Trump said, “We’re right now in construction with [the] wall in some of the most important areas. And we have renovated a tremendous amount of [the] wall…”

In a February 12 updated report, The New York Times details aspects of the southern border wall, adding “… no new miles of barriers had been built under Mr. Trump. Some existing barriers have been replaced.”

Bottom Line: While Trump is correct that many sections of the existing wall are undergoing renovation the only new construction that has taken place (in San Diego) was scheduled before Trump took office. None of the current wall construction represents any of the prototypes that Trump originally ordered.

Politifact rates Trump’s claim Mostly False.

But here’s something to think about: Trump’s misleading claims now include both his campaign and administration officials.

It’s difficult to believe that those campaign officials, and much of his administration are unaware of the truth behind what’s actually been built by prior authorization, and what has only been renovated. And remaining silent on what you know to be misleading or untrue is the same as lying.

Therefore, an unknown number of these officials are complicit in misrepresenting the facts by knowing, and handing out signs at rallies that say, “Finish the Wall.”

They are, in fact, colluding with the President to intentionally mislead the American public.


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