Tag Archives: build the wall

Turn off the TV, Mr. President

Donald J. Trump told us he wouldn’t tweet once became president of the United States.

“I’ll be too busy” making America great again, building a wall, defeating ISIS and bringing back jobs that had been shipped to “China and Mexico,” the president said.

The president has gone Twitter crazy. He can’t stop tweeting policy decisions, criticism of foes, friends and the media.

He also told us he wouldn’t have time to play golf, that he doesn’t even think he’ll take vacations once he took the presidential oath. How’s he done there?

Trump is set to play more golf in his first year than his predecessor, Barack H. Obama, did during his eight years as president.

He’s now zero for two.

OK, now he says he doesn’t watch much television. No time for that, either. The president says he reads “a lot of documents.” Is he telling the truth on this one? The New York Times reports that Trump watches more than four hours of TV daily; it might be as much as eight hours.

He watches CNN, Fox, a little MSNBC, perhaps a broadcast network news show or two, according to the Times. Then he tweets almost immediately after hearing the news, whether it’s “fake” or whether it comes from Fox — his favorite news network.

So, by my score, the president is zero for three on these promises and declarations.

Oh, but what the heck. He “tells it like it is.”

DACA pact? Deal … or no deal?

Donald J. Trump had a couple of dinner guests at the White House tonight.

They were Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, the Senate and House Democratic leaders, respectively. “Chuck and Nancy” emerged from the dinner meeting and announced a “deal” they struck with the president that would produce a permanent agreement to keep “Dreamers” in the United States.

I refer to the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals act that Trump supposedly rescinded the other day. He gave Congress six months to work out a legislative fix to DACA, which seeks to protect those who were brought to the United States illegally as children.

It seems that the DACA matter has been put on a fast track. Oh, and get this: They report that Trump has agreed to forgo building the wall.

Not so fast, says White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, who tweeted out something about minutes after Chuck and Nancy announced the deal that the president didn’t agree to scrap the wall idea.

Who do you believe? Two seasoned politicians who know their way around the Capitol Hill pea patch or a president who is not wired to tell the truth?

Trump, by the way, hasn’t yet weighed in with his own tweet about what he agreed on with Chuck and Nancy.

I believe the two leading congressional Democrats have just scored another win over the “best deal maker” the world has ever seen.

Promises made often are promises broken

“I’ll build a big, beautiful wall … and Mexico is going to pay for it!”

I’m sure you remember when Donald John Trump Sr. made that proclamation. If you missed it the first, or even the second or third times, well, he kept saying all along the trail he followed right into the White House.

Mexico will foot the bill for a wall that the president of the United States wants to build. Check. Got it. Done deal.

Except that Mexico will do no such thing. Just ask them. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has made as clear as he possibly can make it: In no way, in no fashion, is Mexico going to spend a single peso to pay for the wall.

What does Trump do now? Why, he turns to us — to you and me. We’re going to pay for it, he declares with a bravado equal to what he displayed while making that foolish campaign-trail pledge.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders keeps muttering that tiresome — and mostly false — contention that Trump “got elected” on the promise to build the wall. Wrong, young lady! He got elected by declaring that Mexico was going to pay for it.

The wall now is being used as a piece of political bait. The president is threatening to shut down the government if Congress refuses his demand for money — coming from our pockets, remember — to erect that 2,000-mile wall. Congressional leaders, though, have been burned before by attempts to shut down the government. They’ve done so in the past and have paid a price politically for it.

Trump has no direct knowledge of the political pain that comes with making stupid promises that he cannot keep.

I am all for increased border security. If we’re going to do more to deter illegal immigrants, then invest in better surveillance monitoring techniques; hire more Border Patrol officers and put them on duty along our southern frontier. I get that those who enter the country illegally are, by definition, lawbreakers.

Here’s another notion: How about enacting some comprehensive immigration reform legislation that makes it easier for those who want to come here in search of opportunity to do so legally?

But to build a wall? And then force a neighboring sovereign state to pony up the cash to pay for it? That was never in play. To now force U.S. taxpayers to carry that burden has become just another broken campaign promise.

Trump engages in another game of chicken

The president of the United States seems to have an addiction to the game of chicken.

He keeps throwing down challenges to those in the legislative branch of government to do his bidding … or else!

The latest or else is a big one.

Donald Trump wants Congress to provide money to build a wall along our southern border, or else he’s going to force a shutdown of the federal government. That’s right, the president of the United States is holding the entire federal government hostage to a political promise he made to voters en route to his being elected to the nation’s highest office.

This is a grotesque form of political extortion.

For starters, the president doesn’t possess unilateral authority to shut down the government. Congress plays a huge role here by appropriating money for public projects. If Congress chooses to increase the debt ceiling, for example, without setting aside wall construction money, the president can veto it — but then he risks being overridden by Congress.

The way I see it, members of Congress — particularly the Republican leaders who run the place — don’t like being dictated to by the president. They understand that Trump does not, which is that they share in the responsibility of governing the United States of America. They know what Trump doesn’t know, or refuses to know, or simply is too damn ignorant to figure it out.

I’ve long opposed construction of a “big, beautiful wall” along our border. It won’t prevent illegal immigration; there are myriad eminent domain issues to resolve; a wall won’t prevent illegal immigrants from tunneling beneath it.

And I need to point out, too, that a key part of Trump’s campaign promise to build the wall contained this provision: Mexico is going to pay for it! Mexican government officials say categorically, in plain English and Spanish, that they will not pay a nickel for the wall.

Now the president is going to foist the cost of this monstrosity on U.S. taxpayers, the very people he said he wouldn’t have to bear this burden? And if the wall isn’t included in congressional action, that he’s going to shut down the government and, thus, deny citizens access to services they might need?

I’m not issuing a medical diagnosis here … but the president is a loon.

Shut down the government … over a wall?

So much grist poured out of the president’s relentless and reckless rant in Phoenix …

Let’s take a nibble at this tidbit: Donald John Trump Sr. says he’s willing to shut down the federal government if Congress doesn’t approve money to pay for the wall to be built along our nation’s border with Mexico.

Yep, the guy who said this past summer that “I, alone” can solve the nation’s problems now is blackmailing congressional Democrats to provide money to build the wall. If they don’t, he said, the government shutdown is on their hands.

But wait!

Trump has vowed that Mexico is going to pay for the wall. Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto says “no … we won’t!” Trump reportedly has zero relationship with the Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell, who has declared there is “zero chance” the government is going to shut down; “We are not going to default,” said McConnell.

The president is insulting congressional Republicans as frequently as he insults Democrats. He is destroying — one insult at a time — any chance of getting anything done once Congress returns from its summer recess.

So now the guy who wants to “unify” the country, who declares it is time to “heal our divisions” is now threatening to shut down the federal government if Congress doesn’t do something he has promised never would happen.

I believe former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper — a serious and sober man — has it right. Donald Trump is unfit for the job to which he was elected.

Texas landowners may block wall construction

This is funny … almost.

I’m not laughing. However, the irony is too rich to ignore. As the New York Times is reporting, those closest to the nation’s southern border seem to be mounting the sternest challenge to efforts to build that big ol’ wall between the United States and Mexico.

They’re supposed to be terrified of the “flood of illegal immigrants,” right? Not exactly.

Texas appears to be at ground zero of the battle between private landowners and the federal government that seeks to build that wall.

Texas’s vast expanse of real estate is almost exclusively in private hands. Citizens own the land and they are none too willing to surrender it, no matter what the Department of Homeland Security might have to say.

Lawsuits have been filed

According to the Times, landowners have filed dozens of lawsuits against the government that wants to condemn their land to make way for the wall. Some property owners are hoping to tie this matter up so tightly that they’ll outlast the Donald J. Trump administration.

Texans have proven over many years to be not bashful at all about fighting tooth and nail to protect their land from government seizure. That well could be the fight that the president faces as he maneuvers efforts to construct the wall that he and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly say can be finished in 24 months.

Texas and Mexico share 1,254 miles of border. Most of the land on the Texas side of the Rio Grande River is privately held. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires the government to pay “just compensation” for property it takes from citizens.

And, yes, there happens to be a lot of land west of El Paso — through New Mexico, Arizona and California — that the feds will have to take from private ownership. It won’t come cheaply.

I understand completely that the Rio Grande Valley region needs careful attention from border security officials. According to the Times: “The Rio Grande Valley is among the busiest smuggling routes on the Mexican border. Last year, Border Patrol agents seized 326,393 pounds of marijuana, second only to the agency’s Tucson sector. It also seized about 1,460 pounds of cocaine, the most of any sector. Nearly 187,000 illegal border crossers were apprehended here in 2016, the most of any Border Patrol sector.”

I see the need for greater security.

But seizing the land and building a wall? This fight is just beginning.

Oh, we can forget about Mexico paying for the wall — if it ever gets built!

‘Wall’ taking various forms

Donald J. Trump’s “big, beautiful wall” isn’t going to be built anytime soon. If ever.

The wall is supposed to stretch along the United States’ southern border. The president vowed — loudly, in fact — that the wall would be among his first priorities during his first 100 days in office.

Well, the wall became part of the debate over how to avoid a government shutdown, that was reported to occur on Friday, on Day 99 of Trump’s term in office.

Congressional Republicans have pulled the wall out of the budget negotiation. Trump’s wall has been put on ice once again.

What is making me shake my head is the argument over the cost of the boondoggle. The president insists it won’t cost more than $10 billion. Congressional budget estimates put the cost at $25 billion-plus. Trump wanted a fraction of that amount included in this budget proposal; he won’t get even that.

Here’s where it gets real confusing: The cost disparity appears to center on the nature of the wall. Is it a real wall, concrete, rebar, razor wire and all that? Is it just a fence? Is it some kind of “cyber” wall with computer-operated cameras scanning the landscape?

Trump keeps talking as though it’s the real thing — the concrete/rebar/razor wire kind. It’s going to be sunk deeply into the soil along our border with Mexico. It keeps getting higher every time a critic in Mexico lambastes the president.

And speaking of Mexico, didn’t the president insist on the stump this past year that “Mexico is going to pay for the wall”? Well, they aren’t. We cannot make a sovereign nation do anything against its will — short of invading it and occupying it.

No the money is going to come out of our pockets. Yours and mine. Are you ready to pay for a wall that won’t work? Me neither.

We are witnessing the mother of all cluster f****, dear reader.

The wall is crumbling before it’s being built.

Do I favor an open border that allows bad guys to sneak into this country? Of course not! A wall is not the answer. And I haven’t even addressed in this blog post the logistics of building such a structure along thousands of miles.

I am willing to support strict enforcement at entry points all along both of our borders to ensure we keep criminals out of the country.

Good grief, man. If money is an issue, then spend it on beefing up existing border enforcement policies.