Out of all of the campaign promises that Trump’s poorly educated supporters latched onto, nothing resonated more than his promise to build a wall between the US and Mexico. And out of all of those promises, everyone agrees that a border wall is the least likely to be fulfilled. But that hasn’t stopped the great God-Emperor from talking about it at every opportunity.
In recent weeks Trump’s ideas about the wall have gone from crazy to downright bizarre. He keeps insisting that Mexico will pay for the barrier, and the Mexican government keeps telling him to go pound sand. So a few weeks ago Trump threw what he apparently saw as an olive branch to Mexico, by floating an idea that the wall could be covered in solar panels. That would, as Trump explained, allow the wall to make money from the electricity it generated and reduce the amount Mexico would have to pay.
As strange as all that sounded, it was nothing compared to what came out of Trump’s mouth as Air Force One cruised to Paris. He doubled down on the solar wall idea, then he really went off the reservation.
It appears that His Orangeness is now thinking of a scaled down version of the wall, telling reporters that there are areas along the US/Mexico border where natural barriers would make building a barricade unnecessary. But The Washington Post notes that if Trump believes that, he could use a little geography lesson, at least when it comes to the Rio Grande, which largely serves as the dividing line between Texas and Mexico.
Trump told reporters during his flight to Paris that the U.S. won’t need a wall all along the roughly 2,000 mile border because of “natural barriers,” including mountains and rivers. The winding Rio Grande defines the border in most of Texas while the Colorado River marks the boundary along 24 miles in Arizona. Trump describes the rivers as “violent and vicious” though in parts of Texas the river is little more than a trickle of water.
But that’s not the crazy part. Where a wall is needed, Trump wants it to be “see through.” Why? To avoid injuries from sacks of drugs getting tossed over it. I really wish I was making that up.
In fairness, The Hill reports that border patrol agents have been recommending a see-through wall, so they can monitor what is going on on the other side. But the idea that it is because they don’t want to get hit with sacks of drugs appears to be 100 percent Trump. Steve King’s image of illegal immigrants with “calves the size of canteloupes” from carrying drugs across the border rears its head again.
We now have Captain Ahab at the wheel. And the border wall is Trump’s Moby Dick. It’s a fool’s errand, but an idea that he can’t let go of, even as he evolves the plan to try and sell it to a very reluctant Congress. Now it’s not just a solar wall, it’s a safety wall, protecting CBP agents from those YUGE sacks of drugs that he thinks will be tossed over it by allowing them to see the culprits.
However, a large portion of Trump’s base is expecting their big, beautiful, solid wall, financed by Mexico. And when they don’t get it, solar powered, see-through, long, short, tall, whatever, they will either turn against Trump or against the GOP, who they will see as obstructing their hero. Either way it’s a loss for Trump, and a win for the rest of us.