President Donald Trump on Wednesday boasted about the impenetrability of newly-constructed barriers as he toured the U.S.-Mexico border near San Diego.
Trump showed off a portion of the 30-foot-tall bollard wall and beams, insisting to reporters, “This wall can’t be climbed.”
“Look at the inner tube to see what happens, because after the wall is up, we pour concrete and concrete goes into the tube, and in addition to that we have rebar,” Trump explained to reporters.
“So if you think you’re going to cut it with a blowtorch, that doesn’t work because you hit concrete,” he continued, “and if you think you’re going to go through the concrete, that doesn’t work because we have very powerful rebar inside.”
Trump also discussed the concrete filling being used for the beams, boasting that workers were using “a very powerful concrete.”
“And a lot of technological advances have been made with concrete,” he added. “It sounds pretty simple but it’s not. It’s a pretty powerful concrete. So you have the rebar, you have the outer crust and you have — the inside is concrete and it’s pretty amazing.”
“We actually built prototypes and we have, I guess you could say, world-class climbers,” he said. “We had 20 mountain climbers. That’s all they do, they love to climb mountains.”
“Some of them were champions, and we gave them different prototypes of walls, and this was the one that was hardest to climb,” he continued, gesturing to the stack of beams behind him.
When Trump began to elaborate on the structure’s technological assets, he was gently reprimanded by the head of the Army Corps of Engineers.
“One thing we haven’t mentioned is technology,” Trump said. “They’re wired so that we will know if somebody’s trying to break through.”
He then prompted Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, acting head of the Army Corps, to elaborate. Semonite quickly answered: “Sir, there could be some merit in not discussing that.”
Oh my god. Trump starts to discuss apparently sensitive technology deployed at the border. Asks the General in charge to describe the technology.
The General's response: "Sir, there could be some merit in not discussing that." pic.twitter.com/FlSmiNTbLM
— Scott Stedman (@ScottMStedman) September 18, 2019
But Trump wasn’t done.
Fortifying the wall even more, he said, was the fact that the steel wall’s beams are heat conductors. “It’s designed to absorb heat, so it’s extremely hot,” he said. “You won’t be able to touch it. You can fry an egg on that wall.”
The president said that he was talked out of his initial vision for the wall — a solid concrete block — though he asserted it would have been cheaper to do so. “It’s more expensive, but it’s the right thing to do,” he said.
Following the short press conference, reporters said the president pulled out his favorite Sharpie to sign the wall.
— The Hill (@thehill) September 18, 2019