The Slatest

New GOP Thing Is to Pretend No One Is Talking About a Wall Except Democrats, as if We Are All Idiots With No Memory

A man in a green uniform stands in front of a concrete wall that appears to be about 30 feet high.
A Border Patrol agent and a border wall prototype in Southern California.
Mario Tama/Getty Images

An amazing new talking point is spreading:

“I know the Democrats are hung up on calling it a wall, but I don’t care if they call it a gender-neutral palisade or a linear monument to climate change,” Brady, the top Republican member on the House Ways and Means Committee, said on Fox News. “In truth, we need more resources for border security.”

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Gender neutral, that’s good stuff. Here’s another example from the same Washington Post article:

“Only in D.C. is the terminology important,” Rep. Chip Roy (R-Tex.) said in an interview. “Call it a wall, call it a fence, call it what you want.”


Wall, wall, wall! Why are Democrats fixating on this wall thing?

One possible reason is that it has been what President Donald Trump and the people around him have been talking about constantly for the past three years. “DHS is committed to building wall and building wall quickly,” the Department of Homeland Security recently wrote on its website. “I would ask for wall. We need wall,” said DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in an appearance before Congress. “The wall will get built,” Trump said in the Dec. 11 Oval Office meeting with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer during which he promised to shut down the government unless Congress authorized wall funding. “It’s not a fence, it’s a wall. We’re going to build a wall,” he said in 2017. “Maybe someday they’ll call it the Trump Wall,” he said in 2015. “A nice powerful wall” is needed urgently to prevent the entry into the U.S. of refugees from Central America, Trump said Thursday morning.

Here is a transcript on the White House’s own website from a Wednesday event at which the president explained that when he talks about a wall, he is expressly talking about a physical wall and not “a multi-faceted approach to border security”:

Look, we can all play games, but a wall is a necessity. All of the other things — the sensors and the drones — it’s all wonderful to have and it works well, but only if you have the wall. If you don’t have the wall, it doesn’t matter. A drone isn’t stopping a thousand people from running through.

Anyway, here is a good overview from the Texas Observer of how Trump’s wall would fit into practical realities on the border and how the issue has more broadly turned the national discourse into a “vortex of stupidity.”