Sean Spicer clashes with press over definition of a wall

White House press secretary faces challenge from journalists over whether images showed walls or fences as he insists Trump is fulfilling his promise

When is a wall not a wall? When it's a fence.

That was the question on many minds on Wednesday when Sean Spicer, the accident-prone White House press secretary, gave a presentation on border security with the aid of TV screens.

"This is what exists right now throughout our country," he declared, gesturing towards four images of ageing, flimsy defences. "You see a place where cars can literally create little things and drive over. You've got places that can get burrowed under. That one they've created. That one doesn't seem to be effective at keeping people in it."

These sorry images represented the country's current border security, he said, adding that every time someone broke through, it cost just under $1,000 to fix. "Now to the next slide," he said, teasing a reporter: "You had no idea you were getting this, did you?"

The spending bill agreed by Congress until the end of September would allocate an additional $497.4m for procurement, construction and improvements, of which $341.2m is to replace about 40 miles of "border fencing" along the southwest border.

Spicer said: "We have a porous border right now with broken fences, things that can be cut through, places that can just literally be driven over. And to replace this with a 20ft high bollard wall will protect our country, something that the DHS [Department of Homeland Security] has designated the most effective way to do this. So that's what we got out of this bill."

But, a journalist wondered, did the new set of photos on display show walls or fences? The construction of a wall on the Mexican border was a constant theme of Trump's divisive election campaign. But the images in the White House briefing room displayed a steel barrier with vertical bars through which daylight was visible.

Turning defensive, Spicer pointed and said: "That is called a bollard wall. That is called a levee wall. There are various types of wall that can be built, under the legislation that was just passed."

There was some more agitated back and forth with the press. Under the spending bill, Spicer promised, a chain link fence visible in the photos would be replaced with a bollard wall. Another journalist interjected: "It's not the wall the president promised."

Spicer insisted: "What I'm telling anybody is that the president said he was going to build the wall and he's doing it, and he's using the best technology."

Trump's eventual vision of the wall remains uncertain. The White House budget director, Mick Mulvaney, added to the confusion on Tuesday by pointing to images of the bollard wall and claiming: "This is the wall, by the way, that DHS said they wanted. I saw in the Oval Office with the president. We've talked about bricks and mortar. We've talked about concrete walls. This is what DHS wants. Why? Because it actually works better."

Last week, addressing the National Rifle Association in Atlanta, the president acknowledged that the wall would not run continuously along the entire border, for example where there are rivers. He will be able to try again for funding for a different type of border wall in September, but there is a risk that opposition from Democrats could lead to a government shutdown.

The debate over definitions prompted mockery on Twitter. Samantha Bee's Full Frontal TV show tweeted: "'For my science project, I'll explain the difference between a fence and a wall. What? Yes, I understood the assignment.' #wallsplaining".


More Related News

Steve Bannon Reportedly Calls Jared Kushner And Ivanka Trump 'Javanka' Behind Their Backs
Steve Bannon Reportedly Calls Jared Kushner And Ivanka Trump 'Javanka' Behind Their Backs

Steve Bannon's exit from the Trump administration was reportedly carefully orchestrated for weeks, but The New York Times reports that he was ousted from his post as White House chief strategist following his bizarre, surprising interview with The American Prospect, a progressive publication.

Trump to lay out U.S. strategy for Afghanistan on Monday night
Trump to lay out U.S. strategy for Afghanistan on Monday night

By Steve Holland and John Walcott BRIDGEWATER, N.J./WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump will lay out his long-awaited U.S. strategy for the war in Afghanistan in a prime-time television address to the American people on Monday night, the White House said on Sunday, with a modest increase in

Trump has made Afghanistan decision after
Trump has made Afghanistan decision after 'rigorous' review: Mattis
  • World
  • 2017-08-20 14:16:01Z

By Idrees Ali AMMAN, Reuters - President Donald Trump has made a decision on the United States' strategy for Afghanistan after a "sufficiently rigorous" review process, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Sunday. Soon after taking office in January, the Trump administration began a review

Pence on message, despite Trump
Pence on message, despite Trump's troubles at home

The day after President Donald Trump sparred with reporters on live television over assigning blame for violence at a white supremacist rally, White House aides were stunned, advisers were whispering their ...

GOP doubts and anxieties about Trump burst into the open
GOP doubts and anxieties about Trump burst into the open

President Donald Trump's racially fraught comments about a deadly neo-Nazi rally have thrust into the open some Republicans' deeply held doubts about his competency and temperament, in an extraordinary ...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Latin America

Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.