Trump told journalists aboard Air Force One this week that he doesn’t think a full border wall is needed because of natural barriers that exist along the border.
For more than a year, people across the U.S. have shown their support for now-President Donald Trump by chanting “build that wall” (he’s chanted it, too) at rallies and marches. Some believe in the president’s claims that a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico will keep gangs out of the country, reduce the influx of drugs, and prevent immigrants from moving into the nation illegally. The chant has even been heard on school campuses as a form of intimidation and bulling.
Others, however, have found the concept to be both incredibly racist and a waste of tax dollars (because Mexico isn’t paying for the wall, no matter how much Trump wants to believe it).
Whichever side you fall on, you may be surprised by the latest news. As President Trump was flying to France on Thursday, he said that the controversial wall may not actually need to span the entire length of the border, as he once promised his voters during his campaign, according to BuzzFeed.
“It’s a 2,000-mile border, but you don’t need 2,000 miles of wall because you have a lot of natural barriers,” Trump reportedly said on his Air Force One flight. “You have mountains. You have some rivers that are violent and vicious. You have some areas that are so far away that you don’t really have people crossing. So you don’t need that.”
According to The Los Angeles Times, Trump continued to say that the border wall would only need to be “anywhere from 700 to 900 miles.” The L.A. Times also noted that it appears Trump is not counting the 600 miles of the border that are already guarded by fences and walls.
“You know, we’ve already started the wall because we’re fixing large portions of the wall right now,” Trump reportedly said. “We’re taking wall that was good but it’s in very bad shape, and we’re making it new.”
But his recent comments seem to suggest that he doesn’t plan to restructure the wall quite like he previously promised. Instead of the massive 30-foot wall with the “nice door” he’s touted during interviews and rallies, Trump talked erecting a transparent wall, which BuzzFeed reports will be used to discourage people from tossing drugs over the border.
USA Today’s Gregory Korte tweeted out Trump’s quote: “One of the things with the wall is you need transparency. You need to be able to see through that wall — so it could be a steel wall with openings, but you have to have openings because you have to see what’s on the other side of the wall.”
The quote continues: “And I’ll give you an example. As horrible as it sounds, when they throw the large sacks of drugs over, and if you have people on the other side of the wall, you don’t see them — they hit you on the head with 60 pounds of stuff? It’s over. As crazy as that sounds, you need transparency through that wall. But we have some incredible designs.”
This news comes just two days after the House Appropriations Committee allocated $1.6 billion for the border wall’s construction in a new bill that will fund the Department of Homeland Security for 2018.