Trump signs ‘foolproof’ border wall during Arizona tour
President Trump toured and signed a section of southern border wall in San Luis, Ariz., on Tuesday as part of a trip meant to mark the construction of 200 miles of the barrier.
The president traveled to Arizona, which is quickly becoming a must-win state in his reelection bid, to tout progress on the structure along the U.S.-Mexico border. The visit allowed Trump to focus on a signature issue of his amid a stretch of damaging headlines and national crises, including the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic downturn.
The president signed a plaque attached to a bollard that marked the 200th mile of the border wall. He admired the construction of the wall, calling it “really foolproof.” He last visited the border in September, when he signed a piece of the wall near San Diego.
Critics note that much of the 200 miles is actually rebuilt or reinforced fencing that already existed, though the new construction amounts to a significant upgrade to deter potential border crossings.
During a roundtable event with federal and state officials to discuss border security, Trump sought to frame the construction of the wall as a political asset for him heading into November against presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
“He’s controlled totally by the radical left, as you understand. He’s not controlling it. They’re controlling him,” Trump said. “They want open borders. They want criminal sanctuaries. They want everything that doesn’t work.”
The president suggested Democrats were no longer talking about their opposition to the border wall because it was a winning issue for his administration.
“The wall is never mentioned anymore,” he said. “The reason it’s not mentioned — it’s not that we won the battle. It’s that it’s such a compelling thing to have done.”
A RealClearPolitics average of polls shows Trump trailing Biden by 4 percentage points in Arizona. The president won the state in 2016 by roughly 90,000 votes.
Arizona Sen. Martha McSally (R), who polls show is trailing her Democratic challenger by an average of 10 points, traveled with the president to Arizona on Air Force One. Trump is scheduled to deliver remarks to a group of student supporters in Phoenix later Tuesday after touring the section of border wall.
Securing the U.S. southern border has been a hallmark of Trump’s 2016 and 2020 election campaigns, with his oft-touted wall serving as the centerpiece of his agenda to crack down on illegal immigration. Trump has worked to restrict both legal and illegal immigration during his presidency.
The trip to Arizona came one day after Trump signed an executive order extending limits on certain work visas through the end of the year in a purported effort to boost U.S. economic recovery during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We want to give jobs to Americans right now,” Trump told reporters in Arizona when asked why Monday’s executive action was necessary.
Trump has also pledged to refile paperwork to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program after the Supreme Court last week rejected his first attempt to do so, saying the administration did not provide adequate cause. The program provides protections for the scores of young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
Asked for a message for those “Dreamers,” Trump told reporters, “Put your chin up. Good things are going to happen.”
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