Donald Trump Jr.Don TrumpRittenhouse to speak at Turning Point USA event White House calls Jan. 6 text revelations 'disappointing' Court orders release of some redacted passages of Mueller report MORE on Wednesday cited the effectiveness of zoo enclosures in pushing for his father's proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
"You know why you can enjoy a day at the zoo? Because walls work," the president's oldest son said in an Instagram story posted to his page.
A spokesman for Trump Jr. said that the post was "strictly about illustrating the danger and violence that comes with unsecured borders."
"Anyone insinuating otherwise is simply attempting to create a phony controversy out of thin air to distract from Don’s point that walls equal safety," the spokesman added.
The post had been taken down by 12:30 p.m.
Trump Jr. echoed the messaging of his father, who in a prime-time address from the Oval Office late Tuesday argued that wealthy individuals put walls around their property because they provide protection.
Trump portrayed the wall as an effective deterrent against crime and drugs coming across the border. Democrats, however, accused the president of stoking fear with his remarks.
Trump Jr.'s zoo comparison drew backlash on social media, where users suggested he was comparing immigrants to zoo animals.
Immigrants as caged animals, from the First Son pic.twitter.com/nsAJRASvnM— Emily Jane Fox (@emilyjanefox) January 9, 2019
.@DonaldJTrumpJr your zoo analogy is pure hateful idiocy. I’ll keep this very simple. Immigrants are human beings, not animals. If you don’t get this, there’s no point listening to anything you have to say on immigration— maryb (@marybinprogress) January 9, 2019
Oh, like racism! https://t.co/zzQCpH8HHg— Cameron Kasky (@cameron_kasky) January 9, 2019
Trump has dug in on his demand for more than $5 billion in funding for a wall along the southern border, precipitating a partial government shutdown that has lasted 19 days and counting. Democrats have offered $1.3 billion for border security measures, but no money for the wall.
Smithsonian museums, including the National Zoo, have closed due to lapses in funding during the shutdown.
Trump on Wednesday will meet with Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill and will host congressional leaders from both parties at the White House to continue negotiations. He will travel to the border on Thursday.
Updated at 1:05 p.m.