White House Staff Claim See-Through Fence, Levee Flood Protection System Is A 'Border Wall'

May. 02, 2017

President Donald Trump's White House communications team is claiming inaccurately that there is border wall funding in the spending bill before Congress right now. The move comes as the administration is facing political heat for the failure to obtain federal appropriations in the new omnibus spending bill to pay for the construction of a border wall, as President Trump promised on the campaign trail. The latest controversy began with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer Tweeting out photos of a levee wall along the border and see-through border fence that illegal aliens and drug and human traffickers regularly cut through. Spicer argued, without calling any of them a "wall" like the one Trump promised on the campaign trail, that the president "just negotiated a spending deal where we can build these." He explicitly did not call the photos a "border wall" on his Twitter account.

Technically, Spicer's Tweet is accurate. The spending bill, which funds the government until the end of the fiscal year, does account for the construction of levee walls and extra steel fencing, but that is far short of the president's campaign promise of an actual border wall.

But what Spicer did next was highly problematic and potentially hurts President Trump's efforts to succeed later in the year in delivering an actual border wall when the next spending bill comes up in September. Spicer directed one of his deputies, Lindsay Walters, to call Breitbart News and pitch the photos in Spicer's Tweet as a "border wall."

Noting that Spicer directed her to call Breitbart News and argue that the photos represent a "border wall," Walters pushed back when Breitbart News argued that a see-through fence and a levee wall do not constitute a "border wall" that fulfills President Trump's campaign promise.

"There are two types of walls, a levee wall and a bollard wall," Walters said in a follow-up email. "Both of which will help secure our borders."

Technically, levee walls--or flood walls--are common parts of levees designed to deal with flooding. The Rio Grande river constitutes much of the U.S.-Mexico border, so levees--and "levee walls" as Walters argued--are a part of that. They are not meant for border security, but rather for flood management.

But, Walters said in a follow-up email that "A bollard wall and levee wall of this scale will prevent illegal immigrants from crossing the border."

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