Wednesday, September 18, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He bragged that not only were American taxpayers paying for his replacement border fence, but he'd tricked Congress to make it happen.

Trump visited a section of existing border fence today for a photo opportunity, where he continued to try to lower expectations for his long-abandoned campaign promise to build a 1000-mile wall that Mexico would pay for. Instead, he talked about a roughly 450-mile fence, only 110 miles of which will cover areas not currently fenced.

He also boasted about how he had used legal trickery to take American taxpayer money that Congress had appropriated for renovations to existing walls:

Q: Mr. President, all told, where — how much is this border wall costing the United States, and where is that money coming from? 
TRUMP: ...I'll give you an example, you know they tried to stymie us, by saying $1.6 billion, but only for renovations. Well, if they have a little eight foot wall, seven foot wall, or ten foot wall, that's like, you know, they just pull down the paddle [sic] and they walk across. And if we rip that down, I guess you could say that's renovation. So, you know, we've, uh, used some of this water [sic], some of this comes right out of the budget. Much of the wall comes out of the budget. But if we have even a small piece of steel going around that's called a renovation because we take the piece of steel out, we put up a thirty-foot wall, and, uh, so, in many ways, that, uh, works very much to our advantage.

In reality, the replacement fence near San Diego that Trump stood in front of is 18 feet high. In spite of Trump's shrinking promises for border fence construction, the total fenced area of the U.S.-Mexico border today is essentially exactly what it had been under President Obama

Trump long ago stopped even mentioning the possibility that Mexico would in any way foot the bill for the fence, a promise he made countless times during the 2016 campaign. 

Instead, he's shifted to a strategy of denying he ever said such a thing.


Why does this matter?

  • Voters who believed Trump's campaign promises once may be less likely to believe them a second time.
  • Past a certain point, lying becomes pathological.