Since I just wrote a long piece on the disconnect between Republican perceptions of reality and actual reality, I am loath to write another one so soon. But, my word, can the Republicans get any more clueless?
Trump sees a border fortress as the physical manifestation of his identity as a builder and dealmaker — a president able to construct the nation’s security almost by hand, and to somehow persuade Mexico to pay for it.
The president has been questioning aides about the lack of progress: When will Congress approve the funding? Where are the schematics? Will it be made of concrete or steel? Which firm will build it?
[Department of Homeland Security Secretary John] Kelly said he is taking seriously the president’s interest in an environmentally friendly solar wall, which White House aides think could make the project more difficult for Democrats to oppose.
“Certainly, if someone thinks they can hang solar panels on there and reduce the carbon emissions and sell energy both to Mexico and the United States and it benefits everybody, sounds like a good idea to me,” Kelly said.
Trump is so fixated on a physical wall that in May, White House press secretary Sean Spicer showed off photos of tall steel rods along the border, calling it a “bollard wall.” Many scoffed that it looked more like a fence, and the president himself, one adviser said, had little patience for the design.
“He’s like, ‘No, no, no, no, no, no, no, I didn’t say ‘bollard wall,’ ” recalled the adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share a candid conversation. “I said, ‘The wall. Build a wall. People think wall, they think bricks and cinder blocks.’ ”
The president, the policymaker, the real estate magnate, understood one thing in his gut: He had promised a wall, and now he needed to build one.
It is not going to be hard for Democrats to oppose Trump’s wall, and it doesn’t matter if it is a “bollard” wall or a solar energy plant that can power the entire southwest. There will be no votes for Trump’s stupid wall. Perhaps nowhere does President Trump more clearly demonstrate that he’s insane than when he talks about this subject. He wants windows on the wall so people will be able to see the drug dealers on the other side before they hoist 60 lb. sacks of dope over the top and onto their necks. In case you are in doubt about the lunacy of this talk, a typical bowling ball is 15 lbs. Could you throw four bowling balls all at once fifty feet into the air?
He’s actually hassling the Secretary of Homeland Security for schematics? He doesn’t know that he’ll need a bunch of Democratic votes to get the funding for this and that no Democrat is willing to engage him on his fantasies?
Supposedly, they will scare Democrats into relenting on this.
Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) have been working with the White House to introduce a bill by the end of the summer that would cut the current annual level of 1 million green cards by half in 10 years, largely by limiting visas for extended families of legal U.S. residents.
Cotton, who along with Perdue has met twice on immigration with Trump, said the legislation is popular in key states where Democratic senators are up for reelection in 2018.
“Donald Trump recognizes that it’s possible to be both pro-immigrant and to believe that immigration levels are too high and skewed against educated, high-skilled, English-speaking immigrants,” Cotton said.
The strategic thinking among administration members is that they can gain a political advantage on immigration once they begin talking about proposals publicly. The release of the Cotton-Perdue legislation, they hope, will mark the beginning of a public immigration pitch.
Maybe they might bully some red-state Democratic senators into embracing a rollback of green cards. Maybe. But that has nothing to do with getting them to fund his dumb wall.
None of this even makes contact with reality.
And yet no one can convince Trump that he’s not on track.