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Trump’s Fabulous Wall Fables

| January 25, 2019

trump wall

(© Filippo Minelli)

For a month Donald Trump seemed triumphant that he was making life miserable for 800,000 federal workers and their families. His supporters say the same thing about Congressional Democrats. But Trump’s approval was hemorrhaging. It was down to its lowest level in a year, the disapproval beginning to screech from his sacred base. So he caved. No money for his Magic Maginot Wall, and surrender to ending the partial shutdown, at least for three weeks.

pierre tristam column flaglerlive He says he might declare a national emergency if negotiations don’t give him the billions for his wall, so it’s merely tantrum delayed, though it’s certainly felt like we’ve been in a national emergency for the past two years. Declaring one won’t make much of a difference, except in our balance sheets. The wall charade is reloading.

Last month Donald Trump took to prime time to air his border-wall liturgy. His speech was a magnificent set of inventions in the grand Trump style, and a rerun of his American Carnage inaugural address, with dead bodies everywhere. But it was not factual.  I realize that we are in a post-factual presidency where alternative facts are Trump’s equivalent of papal bulls: whatever he says goes. It’s about belief, not reality. For the sake of appearances though, let’s argue the facts about the wall for a moment.

The president imagines every Mexican a mule. Most drugs flowing into the United States do come through the southern border, but through legal ports of entry, not through unguarded places, as Trump claims, where he wants to build a wall. He says “more people will die from drugs this year than were killed in the entire Vietnam War.” True, but the majority are dying because of legal prescription drugs made by corporations and donors to whom he gave a huge tax break.

He sees a criminal behind every undocumented immigrant. Of course the undocumented murder, rape and commit all sorts of other crimes. But they seem to be model citizens in comparison with Americans. An authoritative study on the subject found that “there were 56 percent fewer criminal convictions of illegal immigrants than of native-born Americans in Texas in 2015.” Texas knows a few things about the undocumented. That study found that Americans steal more, rape more and murder more than illegals, while “the criminal conviction rate for legal immigrants was about 85 percent below the native-born rate.”

Trump considers the absence of a wall a danger to national security, and says the danger is growing. In fact, illegal border crossings are at a 45-year low, no small thanks to Barack Obama’s brutal crackdown on the undocumented and stepped up efforts along the border. More to the point: The nation not only survived the 1990s, when more than 1.5 million migrants were caught crossing illegally every year, but it thrived. These days fewer than half a million are caught crossing illegally every year. You could add a few dozen caravans to the tally: it still won’t be a crisis, nor a danger to American security.

Then there’s the cost: at least $18 billion for a wall that won’t make much of a difference, other than  to make us look even more like the old East Germany than we already do. What, in comparison, has Trump provided by way of evidence that a wall would make a difference? Nothing.

So with illegal immigration at a 45-year low, building that wall along 722 miles of border with Mexico would be like building a state prison in every Florida county even though the state’s crime rate is at a 45-year low. Of course it makes no sense. But it’s not supposed to. Not for Trump, not for his followers. It’s not about facts. It’s not even about the wall. Never was. It’s futility to debate it rationally.

Trump was elected to reassure white Americans that white lives matter, that even though the nation’s demographics are inexorably moving whites to minority status by mid-century, he’s here to do what he can to make America white again. There’s no way he can. But national myths aren’t forged in reality. They don’t have to be true to be believed. Whether it’s built or not, the wall is that myth, a wailing wall for his base’s many rages. Trump’s presidency depends on it.

We saw the same masonry with the Muslim ban, with his trade war, with his decision to pull out of the Paris accords on global warming, with his perverse war on transgender people. None of it factual, all of it visceral. None of it is making us safer, better, more powerful, let alone greater. Every one of these acts diminishes us. Some of those acts endanger us.

The wall won’t. It’ll just add to our moral debility. Just as the shutdown did and will again in three weeks, unimagined new spillage from President Guts notwithstanding.

Pierre Tristam is FlaglerLive’s editor. Reach him by email here or follow him @PierreTristam. A version of this piece aired on WNZF.

39 Responses for “Trump’s Fabulous Wall Fables”

  1. howard tessler says:

    Every time I receive a new e-mail from pierre tristam my mind is immediately contaminated with a vision of him in a threesome with nancy pelosi & chuck schumer .

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      Howard, if we’re talking threesomes I’m more of a Kamala-Bernie kind of guy, all atingle in their sanctuaries. But glad my emails give you a flutter.

  2. Steve Robinson says:

    It’s absurd to demonize Mexicans who supply illegal drugs, regardless of how the drugs are transported, without equally condemning the users on this side of the border. As long as there is demand, there will be supply. Mexican drug lords could not have succeeded in corrupting much of their country without willing accomplices in the U.S.

  3. Mark says:

    And you know how many drugs are coming via other than ports of entry how? Are the cartels giving you some info? And you know how much drugs come thru ports of entry undetected how? WAG? You know how many bodies are found in the desert border area while trying to cross illegally? No crisis here. Yup, no minorities voted for Trump. His approval rating among hispanics rose 19% during the shutdown. Explain that one.Yes the wll is a myth, especially the lame one already constructed by the liberals. Your TDS is showing.

  4. Rick G says:

    I’m glad you mentioned the Maginot Line… I use that example often to refute any proponent of DTs stupid wall. The French thought it would keep out the Germans but the Germans figured out a way to get around it. Has this guy ever thought about airplanes or boats that can go over and around his Neanderthal wall?

  5. BeechBoy says:

    Oh Pierre,

    Bless your heart…

    Poor little man.

  6. Concerned Citizen says:


    You’re entitled to your opinion but your comment in regards to this idiot of a president reassuring whites is a bit much and shows a little rasicsm on your part. Did you mean all whites or just Trump Supporters? Clarity means a lot.

    I am a mid 40s white male. Prior military and prior public safety. Almost 20 years of my life has been devoted to public service. I consider myself fairly patriotic but also believe in speaking out against things when it’s wrong.

    I have been in an inter racial relationship for almost 5 years. We are getting married this summer. I have seen first hand the division caused by racism. The media sure hasn’t helped on that topic.

    I did my part in the 2016 election and voted against Mr. Trump. I felt then he was a bad choice for our country and still believe he is today. I am eagerly awaiting one of two things to happen. Either Mueller gets enough on him to charge him or he gets impeached.

    I also voted against Hillary Clinton. Not because she was a woman but because she wasn’t right for the job. When you are investigated by the FBI for hours on end and skate thru untouched that leaves a lot of questions in the ethics and morales department. Not to mention her constant lying.

    I am a firm believer that the Russians interfered with the elctions. There’s just way to much evidence out there. I also believe that Mr. Trumps shutdown is a farce and he’s hoping it will distract from other issues. I mean if the FBI runs out of money they can’t investigate now can they?

    Mr. Trump is only my president in legal status. I don’t respect him and I don’t trust a single thing he says. He reminds me of a 5 year old throwing tantrums all the time. Unfortunatley these trantrums are hurting an entire nation.

    We can only hope that good candidates come out of the next election.

    I would give my customary speach about making a difference at the polls. However when the outdated electoral college decides our president and our voting system has been compromised sometimes voting seems futile.

    Hopefully this next year passes quickly and we get some real changes going.

  7. palmcoaster says:

    Trump failed his promise of the wall “paid by Mexico” . So then NO wall why we should pay for it when we need those billions in more urgent issues needed now. Our Americans residing in the border do not want a wall!

  8. Impatient says:

    I am impatient for this horrid circus to be over. I’m impatient for the trumpers to wake up and realize Bobby didn’t really die, it was just a dream. I am impatient for the Mobster in chief to go down, and all his mobster buddies with him. I am impatient for the trumpers to take a deep breath and start thinking for themselves, not what the orange moron says or what Fox news says….but to look at things rationally for a change. I’m impatient for our country to start moving back to the great country it always has been and to undo all the horrid damage Comrad Donnie and his buddy Putin has caused. The trumpers don’t get it….this is all Putin’s plan, and boy is it ever working. I know it’s all coming….it just seems to be taking forever.
    However thank you once again Pierre for your voice of reason in the wilderness.

  9. marlee says:


    ….Mr. Trump promised that Mexico would pay for the wall….over and over again!

    Did he flip-flop??? or…….lie?????

  10. Stranger in a strange land says:

    In his Rose Garden speach, when he went off script and rambled on about drugs and human trafficing he sounded like a crazy old grandpa ranting racist craziness. The problem is he is the President. Donald Trump has lied in his business life (Lawsuits, bankruptcies, unpaid contractors, etc.) and his personal life (bone spurs, affairs, divorces, etc.). Why does anyone expect anything different in his political life? He practices and has perfected “the big lie” formula. If you loudly repeat a big lie over and over again, eventually people will believe it. Fox News and Facebook news feedback loops are devices reinforcing the lies. Scary times.

  11. Richard says:

    Trump doesn’t have to prove to the American people that barriers DO work. CNN’s Jim Acosta did it for him. I guess you missed that video he tweeted back on January 10th. So here it is.

  12. gmath55 says:

    Things Democrats Have Funded that Cost More than the Border Wall

  13. palmcoaster says:

    Thank you Pierre for the courage to tell it like it is in a reality reporting.
    Hopefully the tenure of this Lier, Bigot, Traitor in Chief comes to an end soon.

  14. Deb says:

    FYI: The new statistics project that the nation will become “minority white” in 2045. During that year, whites will comprise 49.7 percent of the population in contrast to 24.6 percent for Hispanics, 13.1 percent for blacks, 7.9 percent for Asians, and 3.8 percent for multiracial populations.

  15. Just the facts says:

    Mark, the information about how the majority of drugs come in through legal ports of entries comes from various government agencies. The Border patrol statistics prove that illegal crossings are at a decade low. The bigger problem is people who come in legally and overstay their visas. Over and over again his own government agencies offer proof that he is just fear mongering.
    With the huge increase in our national debt we simply can’t afford to build a useless, inefficient wall.
    Lastly, a 19% increase in support from Latinos? Where did you get that?

  16. voter says:

    Trumpty Dumpty sat on a wall;
    Trunpty Dumpty had a great fall;
    All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
    Couldn’t put Trumpty together again.

  17. Fredrick says:

    Typical “alternative facts” from Pierre. So tired of the “the right is racist and bigots”. You know that it’s crap and you and the liberal media say it over and over again. That is what got the Duffus we have in office elected and it will be what puts him back there unfortunately. Why can you not just say that the right has no problem with immigration, just get in line with everyone else who wants to come to the shit hole of a country who in liberals eyes is nothing but a big KKK rally and do it legally. A racist and immoral country with the lowest unemployment for those of any color. Where the economy has been screaming along and if not for the partisan bullshit would even be doing better. A country where each side fights and prays for the other to fail so they can get into power the next go around.

    @palmcoaster – if Pierre truly had courage he would write an OP Ed about the BS from both sides explaining how we are such a shit hole in the current eyes of the left and why everyone wants to come here and where each political party fights and prays for the other to fail so they can get into power the next go around. Where the other side will simple try to destroy individuals such as a kid wearing a MAGA hat, or a judge nominated to the supreme court.

    When does this crap stop? That is the kind of OpEd piece Pierre could write and that would take courage.

  18. Charlie says:

    What a bunch of liberal WHINERS ! Hillary LOST…Get over it !…….President Trump WILL build the Wall and BUILD our Military back up after Obammie’s time in office. The Congress is a JOKE and will damage America even more come 2020. Be careful what you wish for , you just might get it .

    “Don’t cry for me Argentina ….I mean America”

  19. William Moya says:

    The Wall is not about facts, or keeping America safe (the syllogisms in this debate are delicious), is a symbol. For the atavists (formally referred as retrogrades, my wife objects), is a defense of our Constitution, (problematic as it may be), white supremacy (i’m surprise they haven’t summoned Odin and the Teutonic tribes), and an under siege mentality.

    So, for every other American who believes in America the idea, the our best still lies ahead, if we work for it, I’ll leave with this thought, honor our American revolution and dethrone King Trump.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Trump is no good , Hillary is no good ,Sander’s is no good Obama is no good , WTF who is good ?. The next president if it’s not trump will be no good, I give the FxxK Up . I decided not to watch the news anymore and cancelled my paper, I do not believe in journalists or any news venue, DROPPING OUT of all this insanity

  21. Tampa Native says:

    I seem to remember our government under Republican President Ronald Reagan asking another government to tear down a wall. Now it is okay for us to build one. These barriers won’t stop illicit things from happening, you can build a fence around your home or property, but if someone really wants in or out, they will find a way.

  22. hawkeye says:

    Pierre ,I have met you a couple of times , you seem like a pretty nice guy , I believe you are from Lebanon, did YOU sneak into this country illegally? I didnt think so, do you think its o-k for other people to sneak in illegally and especially do you think its o-k to use children as pawns? I am all for LEGAL immigration , that is how my ancestors got here.

  23. Barry Hartmann says:

    TRUMP we will get s wall. The art of the deal.
    TRUMP 2020!

  24. Sherry says:

    Hypocrite trump hired ILLEGALS for years, and has finally fired some of them! Good enough to bow, scrape and toil in a rich man’s club, BUT not good enough to be treated EQUALLY. What bigoted hypocrisy!

    Take a good read:

  25. Makeitso1701 says:

    No wall, just a big CAVE. So much for mr art of the deal, what a loser.
    Nancy Pelosi put him in time out. trumps next book should be titled, The Art of a Temper Tantrum. LOL

  26. JPK says:

    He wanted a wall and got a cave.

  27. Agkistrodon says:

    Pierre If I travel to Mexico Illegally and the Mexican police catch me, exactly what do you think THEY are going to do to me. They are going to charge me as a CRIMINAL. Why? because I broke the law. So anyone who comes here ILLEGALLY is a criminal. I have heard many say it is not a crime cause they do it “out of love for their families”. So my question would be, Hypothetically, OF COURSE, If I rob a bank, to support my family, and it is “out of love for my family”, Is it still breaking the law, and does That make me a criminal? Cause the bank is federally insured, and really no one gets hurt……………See how silly that sounds. Laws are LAWS, and they are made to be Enforced. And as far as walls, Does Your house have walls? Why are they there? Because They keep you More secure, than you would be WITHOUT them. So Walls do provide some security.

  28. BMW says:

    Pierre, you are so predictable that I find myself tuning your email blasts out. For 24-years I was in a position to work with the Border Patrol, DEA, CIA, Coast Guard, ATF and post 9-11 with Homeland Security. By continuing your vision of a world consisting of Rainbows and Unicorns, you leave those who know through experience the good and bad of what goes on along the border and our coastlines. I’m not a defender of our president, but continuing to repeat that he believes all Mexicans are rapists and murderers is simply a distortion of speak and discredits your agenda. Just last week 900 pounds of cocaine came across the water in Texas, was met with a roving border patrol, the folks from the south dumped the load into the river and made their way back to Mexico. Sadly, you never quote the fact that an hour away in Orlando lies the southeastern hub of human trafficking or acknowledge the multitude of families who have been savaged by those with easy access to our country. The murderer, who happens to be a Central American illegal, who went on a killing spree in Northeast Nevada last week left four different families morning the loss of their loved ones for what turned out to be pocket change at the pawn shops along his way. Needless to say, you would do your constituents a favor by injecting a little reality into your constant left leaning reporting now and then. Those who disagree with you are not all life hating Trumpsters, some of us are educated, well traveled, realist who know better.

  29. Deb says:

    Nice read Sherry, but if these people would have gotten a work visa they would still be working, but with Trumpet ya never know. . I’ve got 7 working for me and they applied for a USCIS-issued Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which proves you may work in this country, and they all even got their green cards. Do it legally. I even paid for their EAD application fee. Trump talks out of both sides of his mouth, lies to the left and half truths to the right.

  30. PDE says:

    I’ve never liked or respected Trump, decades before he became President (for some reason, a self-centered, egotistical, insecure bully didn’t appeal to me).

    Hillary was no prize herself, but for me she was the far better choice in 2016.

    Trump’s delusional ‘reasoning’ about his wall simply isn’t true for me. A bigger wall won’t slow large-scale illegal drug importation. Tunnels, cargo ships, planes, boats, cars and trucks are probably the biggest methods used for illegal drug importation. Maybe I’m naive, but in order to smuggle tons and tons of cocaine, meth and heroin into this country requires the cartels to have corrupt people at the cargo ports of entry as well as individuals in law enforcement, both within our country and beyond. A bigger wall won’t affect most illegal immigration either, and isn’t worth a 5.8 BILLION Dollar investment of tax dollars.

    Others have pointed out that the US is the biggest illegal drug customer in the world when it comes to total amount of drugs consumed. This begs a bigger question – If America is such a great country (and I believe it still is) how come so many millions of people want to self-medicate to the point of addiction?

    Now, on to the Government Shutdown – essentially, over 800,000 Federal Employees and millions more who do business with the US Government all went without pay because of a ‘problem’ they had nothing to do with. They were held hostage without any viable reason or cause – just pawns in Trump’s ‘game’.
    The shutdown certainly didn’t Make America Great for them……..

    Now, let’s image that you’re another country or business owner considering doing business with Trump. As a small business owner myself, I want to know about my proposed business partner. Who is he?

    Well, he appears to be a bully who resorts to immature, childish, hurtful and disruptive tactics to try and get his way. He hires and fires people regularly and can’t keep good help, goes on-middle-of-the-night Twitter rants about his perceived enemies and often disparages his own staff as well. He is under Federal investigation(s) for illegal activities and some of his choices for staff have also resigned under disgrace. He started a Trade War with China (I’m not a world economist, but if you’re doing business with someone and you raise your price and / or tax them, they’ll retaliate by raising their tax and / or price to you, ultimately passing on the increased cost to the consumer for both country’s products / services – seems like needless cost-of-living inflation to me).

    Would you even want to work for this guy, let alone do business with him? Yet, the nation hired HIM to work for US and run our country…it’s just stupidly incredible and sadly ironic.

    Many Americans are politically lazy, and they mistakenly believe that this President (any President) will magically solve their problems for them. That’s how Trump got elected, by convincing and reassuring the uninformed masses that he – and he alone – can solve their (and the nation’s) problems. That’s a very dangerous and slippery slope because it invites autocrats and dictators to seize power and gain control.

    Sometime early in my life I was taught to think for myself, and to question what I hear and then decide if it made sense and was actually true for me……and as a result I don’t believe anything Trump says or does.

  31. Stan says:

    It’s only Half -Time Folks!! Se what happens in the Second half. It’s not over till it’s over!!!

  32. Lt. Dan says:

    Liberal loonies actually believe they can change America for the better by getting rid of the Constitution and allowing illegal criminals into our country. I quit trying to argue with idiots. I just cut myself off from media news, tv news, and politicians. And prepare myself and family for the next REVOLUTION that’s about to happen in America.

  33. palmcoaster says:

    @hawkeye probably your immigrant ancestors may have not imagine your will ever turn this way as if not for them you would not even be here. Our USA is a colorful palette made of immigrants and our brave native Americans.
    Thank God we have immigrants like Pierre!

  34. Sherry says:

    Thanks Deb! Hiring illegal immigrants, instead of US Citizens, to get CHEAP LABOR s a long termed pattern with Hypocritical trump. Here’s an example where he had to pay a 1.4 million settlement:

  35. Stranger in a strange land says:

    Anonymous and Lt. Dan, I certainly hope, if you are cutting yourself off from media news you are also closing your Facebook accounts. Facebook knows who you are and what you believe and just feeds back what you want to hear, true or not, from a real person or not, from a foreign government or not. Sorry, that now the true journalists (Shepard Smith,Niel Cavuto, Chris Wallace, John Roberts) on Fox News are calling out Trump. Time to tune out the truth and bury your heads. Maybe “fake news” isn’t fake after all. A while ago a wise friend said Trump would lose his base when he lost Fox.

  36. palmcoaster says:

    Right on Stranger! The DC real Swamp is getting to stink the high heaven and I am also concerned about our National Security regarding his secret meetings with Putin!

  37. hawkeye says:

    palmcoaster , your response to me is kind of nonsensical , my ancestors came here LEGALLY ,that is my point ,I am against illegals sneaking into the country , I am all for people immigrating the proper way , from the way you mangled the english language maybe you are illegal?

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