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Media Buries The Lede In Biden Border Wall Story

It was beyond amusing to see reports that the Biden administration would build a section of border wall in Texas and simultaneously deny that walls work. One of the unintended consequences of these reports, though, is that they tended to confirm that former President Trump did indeed build 450 miles of border wall. This is a fact which has been contended not just by Democrats, but more recently, by Never Trumpers and their surrogates in the Republican primaries.

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has attacked Trump on this basis, claiming that Trump built just 47 miles of border wall. DeSantis likewise has implied that the wall was never really built. But the 47 mile figure disregards new wall built where there was previously some type of barrier, which is to set aside how ineffective the previous barrier was. Even a CNN fact-check concedes that the new barriers built by Trump are “much more formidable than the older barriers it replaced, which were often designed to deter vehicles rather than people on foot.” Now it seems that history will converge on the consensus that Trump built 450 miles of border wall, because after all, he did. 

Remember how it was in the Trump years: First Trump was attacked by the left for the proposal of building a border wall (racist). Then he was attacked for not really building the wall (incompetent). To summarize: Trump is racist for wanting to build a wall, which doesn’t work anyway, and by the way he never even built the wall (“Mexico didn’t pay for it” is their coup de grace, as though we care).

These multi-pronged attacks are as shrewd as they are disingenuous.  How to respond except to use the left’s own reporting to debunk their previous attacks? Now that the issue of whether Trump “built the wall” is no longer as urgent and relevant to the media, they readily concede and state quite matter-of-factly that Trump did build 450 miles of border wall during his presidency.

In a report on the Biden admin’s waiving of environmental laws to build some sections of border wall in South Texas, the AP inadvertently admitted as much. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas sounded uncharacteristically reasonable in announcing the border wall construction:

“There is presently an acute and immediate need to construct physical barriers and roads in the vicinity of the border of the United States in order to prevent unlawful entries into the United States in the project areas.”

Biden himself walked this back in a contradictory manner shortly thereafter. Clearly the Biden admin and its officials are deeply cynical and dishonest, so let’s not harp on their statements. 

The real takeaway is the AP’s acknowledgement that Trump did in fact “build the wall,” as so many enthusiastic and slightly belligerent MAGA crowds have implored:

“During the Trump administration, about 450 miles (724 kilometers) of barriers were built along the southwest border between 2017 and January 2021.”

Perhaps the media is now trying to normalize border wall building. Why might they do that? Well, one might look to polling. If you’re a Republican, you might take it for granted that the public knows the Democrats are, and always have been, a disaster on the issue of immigration. But the public actually doesn’t know that. In fact, the public has given Democrats a slight edge on their handling of immigration over Republicans in recent history. According to an NBC News poll, Democrats held a 6-point lead on immigration at the end of the Trump administration. Likewise, during the Obama administration, Democrats held an edge on the issue of immigration. 

Now, however, reality seems to have penetrated the public’s ignorance on the issue of immigration.  This is to say that the public now prefers Republicans on the issue of immigration, 45% to 27%.

But hey, we don’t have to say “I told you so.” If Biden now concedes that we need a little more border wall, 20 miles to be exact, even as he denies it at the same time, we’ll have to take it.

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