Donald Trump held a press conference in the Oval Office today and, as usual, used the opportunity to spew a steaming mess of lies and deliberate misinformation. As has been his habit for the past few months, he focused almost entirely on the wasteful and ultimately doomed vanity project that is his Mexican border wall.
Now that the Republicans have lost control of the House of Representatives and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has shown herself more than capable of standing up to Trump, he has no real hope of getting funding for his wall.
The president’s only way forward is an illegitimate and authoritarian one: declaring a fake state of emergency and sending in the military to build the barrier. It would be a gross abuse of his powers as commander-in-chief and would almost certainly end up getting defeated in court, but it would also prove to be an unprecedented constitutional crisis and would strain our fractured nation to the breaking point. While he’s floated the idea, it’s still unclear if he’ll follow through.
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Now, Trump seems to have alighted on another strategy: pretending that the wall is already being built.
During the press conference, Trump erroneously claimed that his central campaign promise is almost complete and suggested an updated version of his racist campaign chant to reflect that (fabricated) fact. Trump would like to change “Build the wall!” to “Finish the wall!”
The man truly is beyond parody. He’s brainwashed his base so thoroughly that he now thinks he can tell them the wall, the reason most of them voted for him, is complete and they’ll believe him, sight unseen. Of course, the wall does not exist, no matter how many times Trump claims otherwise.
Trump really leaning into a messaging shift on the wall, claiming that the thing he shut the government down for five weeks over is actually already almost finished –> https://t.co/d8egwq33B0
— Eli Stokols (@EliStokols) February 1, 2019
Former Republican Congressman Joe Walsh, a former Trump supporter and now a staunch critic, took to Twitter to tear into the president’s lies, calling them out as such. He accused Trump of trying to fool his supporters which is, of course, exactly what he’s trying to do. Walsh alleged that Trump knows he will never get his wall, and is now trying to lie his way out in order to avoid the ire of his voters.
Walsh is the furthest thing from a moral or intellectual leader, but in this instance he happens to be correct.
Trump: "We're already building the wall. A lot of it has already been built. The chant should be 'Let's finish the wall."
Trump is lying. This is a lie. A purposeful lie to fool his supporters so they won't be angry when the wall doesn't get built. https://t.co/kiRZ8a0on9
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) February 1, 2019