Sunday, July 12, 2020

What did Donald Trump do today?

He complained about ineffective Trump-style border fencing.

Trump's anger found an unusual target today: a border fence with Mexico. Specifically, a three-mile stretch built by a Trump supporter. No taxpayer money went towards this section of fence—although $1.7 billion of public funds did go to its developer to build other border barriers. The fence, which is situated along the Rio Grande, is the subject of a lawsuit over its violation of a treaty with Mexico and environmental regulations. It's also rapidly weakening from erosion.

Trump, either displeased by the bad press the fence is getting or worried about the ongoing investigation into the contracts awarded to its builder, tweeted this morning about it:

It might be making Trump look bad, but that wasn't the idea, and he knows it. The company that built it has Trump's political guru Steve Bannon on its board, and its backers were likewise Trump supporters. In fact, the taxpayer-funded government contract for other fence construction is under investigation because of the political connections between the awardee and Trump's campaign.

Three miles might be a "very small (tiny)" wall, but it's not something Trump should be making light of, since that's about how much of the border he's managed to put new fences on, too. (The rest of the supposed "500 plus miles" was repairing or replacing existing barriers.)

Trump also might not want to throw stones where quality is concerned. If his fences haven't had quite the same erosion problem, it's probably because they require large gates at their base, which must be left open for months at a time to let floodwaters through. And given the ease with which Trump's fences can be cut, climbed, or defeated by ladders, it's a little dubious to say that they "work" at all.

How is this a problem?

  • Not everything is about Donald Trump.
  • It's wrong to steer federal contracts to political supporters.