President Donald Trump has insisted that border security is unachievable without a wall at the southern border. He's been quick to remind the American people this as the government shutdown over the wall's funding rages on. However, a new Quinnipiac University poll shows that Americans aren't buying what the President's telling them.
The poll indicates that 59 percent of Americans believe President Donald Trump's proposed border wall "is not necessary to protect the border" and "is not a good use of taxpayer money" following his televised address about border security.
Additionally, 55 percent of respondents said they don't believe the wall would "make the U.S. safer" and 52 percent of respondents said the wall is not consistent with American values. Only 2 percent of respondents said the president's address changed their mind compared to 89 percent who said it did not change their mind about building the wall.
Respondents also indicated they're losing faith in the Republican Party. 49 percent of American voters trust Democrats in Congress more than Trump on the issue of border security.
"The GOP is losing the battle as 56 percent of American voters say President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress are responsible for the shutdown, while 36 percent say Democrats are responsible," Quinnipiac notes.
Perhaps even more damningly for the GOP, every party, gender, education, age and racial group (63 percent to 30 percent) supports "a Democratic proposal to reopen parts of the government that do not involve border security while negotiating funding for the Wall." Republicans are the only group against it (52 percent to 39 percent).
The poll was taken from January 9 (the day after the president's address) to January 13. Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,209 voters nationwide with a margin of error of +/- 3.3 percentage points.
'Mr. President, it's on you,' voters say about the government shutdown, blaming President Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans more than Democrats," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. "And while they believe there is both a humanitarian and a security crisis along the southern border, they absolutely don't think a wall will solve the problem."
President Trump appears to be in a world all his own, however. In a tweet, he claimed "Only a Wall, of Steel Barrier, will keep our country safe!" and accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) of "playing political games" and not ending the government shutdown, now the longest in United States history. The shutdown kicked off after the president opted not to sign a stopgap funding bill which would have prevented a partial shutdown of the government after Congress did not allocate the $5.7 billion in funds for the wall he'd demanded.
The president further claimed polls indicate that "people are beginning to understand the Humanitarian Crisis and Crime at the Border."
That claim is misleading. While the Quinnipiac poll found that 54 percent of Americans believe there is a security crisis at the border and that 68 percent believe there is a humanitarian crisis at the border, the majority of Americans, as mentioned above, are against the wall's construction altogether.
The president, whose tendency to lift his talking points from Fox News broadcasts is well known, appears to have made the claims based on what he heard Steve Doocy say on this morning's episode of Fox and Friends.
Many have criticized the president’s address as one based on lies and racism. The president emphasized the need for a wall along our nation’s southern border, suggesting at one point that it was morally imperative.
“Some have suggested a barrier is immoral. Then why do wealthy politicians build walls, fences and gates around their homes?” he said. “They don’t build walls because they hate the people on the outside, but because they love the people on the inside.”
Those claims were debunked ahead of his address by former GOP Representative Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), who said that while both human trafficking and drug trafficking exist, they do not amount to the “crisis” the president claims exists.
“I visited the Southwest border in 2010 when I was working for United States Senator George Lemieux of Florida,” he said. “There was a crisis back then. Things at the border have gotten a lot better over the last 12 years. We’re seeing the number of people attempting to cross illegally drop dramatically, so no, I would not characterize this as a crisis.”
As if to underscore the proposed wall's inefficiency, the president's border wall prototypes have been found to be vulnerable to security breaches.
Trump inspected border wall prototypes in March 2018, eventually settling on steel bollard fencing, but the results of testing by the Department of Homeland Security in 2017 showed all the prototypes, including the steel slats, were vulnerable to breaching.
A photo of a steel slat prototype exclusively obtained by NBC News proved it could be cut through with a saw. Experts from the Marine Corps were instructed to attempt to destroy the barriers with common tools.
The photograph was not initially included in the internal report and was only released following a Freedom of Information Act Request by KPBS, a public radio station based in San Diego.
The president has maintained that his proposed wall is “critical” for national security. Asked about the photograph above, he claimed “that’s a wall designed by previous administrations.” NBC notes that while “it is true that previous administrations used this design, the prototype was built during his administration.”