On Wednesday, Donald Trump triumphantly tweeted the following, pretty clearly intending to announce "the start" of construction of his border wall.
Great briefing this afternoon on the start of our Southern Border WALL! https://t.co/pmCNoxxlkH— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1522266422.0
Yet there, in fact, is no border wall under construction, and as Buzzfeed noted, these photos are from a previously announced repair to the California border fence at Calexico.
The project, which started in 2009, will replace a 2.25-mile section in the California-Mexico border wall, according to a statement last month from US Customs and Border Protection.
The original wall in that section, built in the 1990s, had been built from recycled metal scraps and old landing mat materials, the agency said.
"Although the existing wall has proven effective at deterring unlawful cross border activity, smuggling organizations damaged and breached this outdated version of a border wall several hundred times during the last two years," CBP said.
The project will replace the old wall with a 30-foot-high, bollard-style structure.
As Customs and Border Protection tweeted in February:
A #BorderWall replacement project has begun near downtown #Calexico within #USBP #ElCentro Sector. 2.25 miles of ol… https://t.co/NXooX0ajMl— CBP San Diego (@CBP San Diego) 1519401416.0
Trump's DHS chief tried to clarify Trump's tweet:
This is just one of the wall projects @DHSgov will be constructing in the next year. This 30ft wall will help secur… https://t.co/50ctBAlTLY— Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen (@Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen) 1522271059.0
But as David Kim, assistant chief patrol agent for the Border Patrol’s El Centro sector, made clear when these photos were originally posted:
“We just wanted to get out in front of it and let everybody know that this is a local tactical infrastructure project that was planned for quite some time."
In other words, they should not be seen as "tied to some of the bigger immigration debates that are currently going on.”
Yet that's precisely what Trump was trying to imply with his tweet. Especially trying to save face after signing an omnibus bill that did not fund his border wall project, and that only allotted less than $1.6 billion for:
(1) 14 miles of secondary fencing, all of which provides for cross- barrier visual situational awareness, along the south-west border in the San Diego Sector;
(2) $445,000,000 for 25 miles of primary pedestrian levee fencing along the southwest border in the Rio Grande Valley Sector;
(3) $196,000,000 for primary pedestrian fencing along the southwest border in the Rio Grande Valley Sector;
(4) $445,000,000 for replacement of existing primary pedestrian fencing along the southwest border
In other words, not his wall at all.
Donald Trump quickly got called out on Twitter for his intentionally misleading tweet:
@realDonaldTrump That's a fence not a wall and it's a replacement of what was already there. You've done nothing bu… https://t.co/hy8uoK9CXe— Denise • #TeamPelosi (@Denise • #TeamPelosi) 1522280592.0
@connorlane96 @DrieuxK @realDonaldTrump Trump promised a wall that Mexico would pay for. This is a fence that is be… https://t.co/YJ8W9o4Ood— Jennifer Rose (@Jennifer Rose) 1522278455.0
@realDonaldTrump Looks like the border fencing CNN reported on last April https://t.co/jyVOUQQD6U https://t.co/SI9rL9Fxms— Jim Acosta (@Jim Acosta) 1522267471.0
@DraftArmy @walterowensgrpa @realDonaldTrump No one is paying for it, the photos are of work done in 2009 He's lyi… https://t.co/lsgSgrIwjb— John Ottaway (@John Ottaway) 1522332483.0
@realDonaldTrump I can't believe your MAGAts believe this is your "Wall" just because you say so. First it's a FENC… https://t.co/7P7HWoAihA— maggie a🌊 (@maggie a🌊) 1522322188.0