Trump celebrates failure to build a single foot of border wall

What's worse than a president who doesn't fulfill his main campaign promise?

The answer: a president who doesn't fulfill his main campaign promise but pretends he is fulfilling it.

That was the purpose of the political theater yesterday as Trump came to the border to visit with his "border wall prototypes" and to tout his border security measures.

It's reminiscent of George W. Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech on the USS Abraham Lincoln when we still had years and years of fighting left to do in Iraq.

Fourteen months in, and this is all that's been done.

Trump blames Congress for not appropriating the money for the wall, but really, a lot of the blame falls on Trump.

1. Trump repeatedly campaigned for president promising that Mexico would pay for the border wall.  Why hasn't Mexico started paying?  Because Trump never had a plan to get Mexico to pay for the wall and still doesn't.  It was just a ploy to get himself the Republican nomination for president, and it worked.

2. Now that we know that Trump never had a plan for getting Mexico to pay for the wall, the only way it can get built is if Congress appropriates funds for it.  A few months into his term, President Trump signed a continuing spending bill for the rest of 2017 that had no money for wall construction.  And late last year he signed a two-year spending bill for 2018 and 2019 that contained no money for wall construction, either.

Trump will say it is not his fault, that he cannot make the Congress appropriate the money.  But Trump didn't even try.  He never made his case to the American people as Reagan did for his tax cuts or for aid to the freedom fighters in Nicaragua.

Trump has never vetoed a spending bill.  Trump has never even threatened to veto a spending bill.

Imagine if Trump had vetoed a spending bill, saying he was shutting down the government until Congress came up with money for border security.  It would have been a wildly popular move.  The Congress would have been forced, by public sentiment, to come up with at least some money.

But Trump didn't even try, and this is the result: for the first three years of his administration, not one foot of border wall will be built.

Trump's visit to the "prototypes" is political theater.  He might as well have visited a model of a spaceship to Mars or a mockup of a time machine, because those are more likely to be built in the coming years than his border wall.

Unfortunately, his base, seeing him with these models as a backdrop and talking tough on border security, will fall for it and never ask the tough question of why, 14 months into his administration, not an inch of work on border walls has begun.

Ed Straker is the senior writer at

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