The Slatest

The White House Wants a Webcam to Livestream Border Wall Construction

Construction crews work on a border wall on June 1, 2019 in Sunland Park, New Mexico.
Prime time.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

First, Donald Trump wanted a wall. Now, with the general public’s interest apparently waning, the Trump administration has a new idea—put the wall on TV! Well, perhaps not TV exactly, but the White House, led by the gang’s big picture quasi-millennial Jared Kushner, wants to install web cameras on the southern border to livestream construction of Trump’s “big beautiful wall.” The Washington Post reports that Kushner himself came up with the idea for the strangely avant-garde programming of a construction site. I guess the internet has seen sillier things.

It would appear hard to gussy up what is essentially construction workers digging holes in the middle of nowhere, but that’s where Team Trump is at the moment—they’ll try anything! In fact, when the idea was floated earlier this year, Customs and Border Protection officials hired a private contractor and built a site to allow people to track the wall’s progress. The problem? A lack of dynamism. In other words, it was exactly what you might think—boring. The White House was reportedly unimpressed with the website devoted to a wall, according to the Post, and set out to create something “more dynamic” incorporating camera feeds that will be—less boring.

The pre-election PR effort is aimed at combating the sense that the whole $10 billion wall thing isn’t going so well. The Trump administration has only completed 40 or so miles of a new barrier, as well as replacing another 40 miles of the divide that already existed. That leaves them with a long way to go. “Another 155 miles of fencing are under construction, according to the latest CBP figures, and 273 miles are considered to be in a ‘preconstruction’ phase,” according to the Post. “Of the 166 miles of new barriers the administration intends to build in Texas, all but four miles will be built on private land. The rest will have to be purchased or seized by the government. But the government has yet to contact dozens of landowners to begin the preliminary work of seeking access to their property to start surveying.”

Kushner has said the president’s 400-to-500 mile goal is achievable and, apparently, will make for interesting viewing. Not everyone is happy about the prospect of wall-to-wall coverage, particularly the Army Corps of Engineers and Customs and Border Protection officials. “The Army Corps and CBP have told Kushner that construction contractors do not want their proprietary techniques visible to competitors, according to four people who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the internal discussions,” the Post reports. “Officials at the Army Corps and CBP also were concerned the cameras would show U.S. work crews violating Mexican sovereignty because they sometimes must stray south of the border to maneuver their vehicles and heavy equipment in the desert.”

If you’re looking for compelling storylines, contractor wars and border incursions are at least a start.