The images that President Trump included in a tweet about being briefed on the start of his signature wall were actually of cranes replacing a barrier fence along the Mexican border, according to reports.
“Great briefing this afternoon on the start of our Southern Border WALL!” the president tweeted Wednesday along with four photos apparently from the scene of a small barrier replacement project in Calexico, California.
The images were from a months-long project – whose plans began in 2009 – to replace a 2.25-mile stretch of barrier along the Mexican border, the LA Times reported, citing a recent statement from US Customs and Border Protection.
Border Patrol agents emphasized that it should not be confused with Trump’s long-promised 2,000-mile wall that he said Mexico would pay for.
“First and foremost, this isn’t Trump’s wall,” Jonathan Pacheco, a spokesman for the Border Patrol’s El Centro Sector, told a group on a border tour in early March, the paper reported.
“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,” he added.
The original fence in Calexico, built in the 1990s, had been constructed from recycled metal scraps and old landing mat, according to the CBP. It is being replaced with a 30-foot-high, bollard-style wall.
“Although the existing wall has proven effective at deterring unlawful cross border activity, smuggling organizations damaged and breached this outdated version of a border wall several hundred times during the last two years,” the agency said.
Justin Castrejon, a spokesman for the Border Patrol’s El Centro Sector, told the LA Times that “it was ultimately funded under the current administration in 2017, but is completely separate of any political talk or commentary.”
But despite the agency’s statements, when asked by the LA Times on Wednesday whether the project and Trump’s wall were one and the same, a spokesman sent a one-word response: “Yes.”
Trump has complained to associates that he felt jilted when lawmakers included only $1.6 billion for his wall in the omnibus spending bill he signed last week, the Washington Post reported.
Frustrated that neither Mexico nor Congress will foot the more than $20 billion bill of the wall, Trump said he wanted the US armed forces to pick up the tab by framing it as a national security issue that falls under the Pentagon’s purview.
“Because of the $700 & $716 Billion Dollars gotten to rebuild our Military, many jobs are created and our Military is again rich,” Trump tweeted Sunday.
“Building a great Border Wall, with drugs (poison) and enemy combatants pouring into our Country, is all about National Defense. Build WALL through M!” he continued, in reference to the military.
Credit: NY Post