Trump, border chief fire back at no new wall story: ‘Each mile of those 52 miles is absolutely new wall’

President Trump took to Twitter Monday night to dispute media reporting that headlined “no new wall” has been built, saying: “the Fake News Media gives us zero credit for building a new Wall. We have replaced many miles of old Barrier with powerful new Walls!” The chief of Customs and Border Protection joined in the argument with an appearance on Fox Business to provide details of the progress being made.

Acting head of Customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan appeared Monday on “Lou Dobbs Tonight” to refute reports over the weekend that “Trump has not built a single mile of new border fence,” as claimed in a Drudge Report headline.

“Right now there has been miles and miles of new wall being built,” Morgan argued. “Right now 52 miles at strategic locations in El Centro, El Paso, San Diego. The list goes on.”


Video by Fox Business

The last few days has seen a handful of criticisms lobbed at Trump from conservatives in the media for allegedly failing to deliver on his campaign promises to build a border wall.

The digs started with a Saturday article published in the conservative Washington Examiner which stated, “In Trump’s two and a half years in office, his administration has installed an average 1.7 miles of barrier per month, and none of it in areas that did not previously have some sort of barrier.”

“That report is absolutely ridiculous,” Morgan told Dobbs.

Drudge picked up the Examiner story and linked to it via his main page headline through much of Monday.

Conservative columnist Ann Coulter took her own jab, using one of the Drudge headlines in her tweet that read: “I guess @realDonaldTrump is too chicken to call @DRUDGE a wacky nutjob.” She was referring back to the President’s comment about her in March when she took her shots at Trump for not building the wall fast enough.

“Lou, let me tell the American people the facts. Right now there has been miles and miles of new wall being built. Right now, currently, 52 miles at strategic locations in El Centro, El Paso, San Diego. The list goes on. 52 new miles have replaced old, dilapidated, ineffective wall,” said Morgan.

“If you ask the men and women of the Border Patrol, each mile of those 52 miles is absolutely new wall,” he continued. “Right now, under construction is another 50 miles of replacement border of the old dilapidated [wall] plus 13 linear new miles. In addition to that, Lou, we have another approximately 100 miles of new linear wall that has been approved, funded, and we’re getting ready to construct in the Rio Grande valley, which of course is one the central, strategic locations for that. And this is all going to be completed in 18 months,” Morgan stated, “with almost 205 new miles. 205 miles of border wall being built. And don’t forget, we’re still counting on the funding to come through from DoD, which will actually produce another 200 to 250 miles. So that report is absolutely ridiculous.”

Dobbs expressed his appreciation for the progress being made, but he replied, “That is highly insufficient if we’re to put up a wall across that border. It will take decades at that rate.”

“Well, I will tell you that right now the Border Patrol, CBP as a whole, have been working for a long time to ensure that new wall being built has been built and will continue to be built, is actually being done first in strategic locations–those areas where they need it most, along with with personnel and technology,” replied Morgan. “It’s going to make a difference.”

“I agree with you, Lou,” he continued. “That’s why we need Congress to continue to fund additional wall in strategic locations. Make no mistake, we don’t need a wall on all 2000 miles but we do need it in strategic locations. And with the wall that’s being built and will be finished by the end of next year, we’re making an absolute, incredible dent in a positive way.”

The Examiner article quoted a senior White House official, blaming Democrats for blocking necessary wall funding.

“The wall projects are moving along as quickly as practicably possible given the unprecedented obstruction from Democrat lawmakers to protect and prolong open borders,” the official said. “These same obstructionists, including many who once supported border barriers, are the same people who would abolish ICE and DHS, let criminals run free across our borders, and turned a blind eye to the scourge human trafficking and child sex slavery enabled by their policies.”

Victor Rantala

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