Last September, federal contractors began building prototypes of President Trump’s long-promised border wall between the United States and Mexico. Throughout the months that followed, the eight models were built outside of San Diego in Otay Mesa. President Trump didn’t miss his chance to see his vision unfold during his visit to California. On March 13, he visited the recently constructed 30-foot-tall prototypes and spoke to reporters on the implementation.
“If you don’t have a wall system, we’re not going to have a country,” he said. “There’s a lot of problems in Mexico. They have the cartels, and we’re fighting the cartels and we’re fighting them hard. Nobody ever fought like we fought them.”
After checking out the prototypes, the president expressed his desire for height and see-through capabilities to make it easier for border agents to have a clear view on the other side. When it came to going high, Trump suggested illegal immigrants trying to cross over were super-skilled at scaling structures. He told reporters: “Getting over the top is easy. These are like professional mountain climbers. They are incredible climbers.”
The visit to see the U.S.-Mexico border samples sparked demonstrations with protesters assembled on both sides of the border. There were Trump piñatas and signs that read, “Trump, we will not pay for your wall.” People also took their sentiments to social media where comments erupted on the president’s “mountain climber” remarks.
We’re gonna build a climbing wall and Mexico is going to pay for it! pic.twitter.com/fRs1T52lpP
— Darren Bigelow (@dsbigelowauthor) March 14, 2018
Your president @realDonaldTrump literally just said that Mexican immigrants “are professional mountain climbers.”
— Aimee Carrero Rock (@aimeecarrero) March 13, 2018
“They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some are professional mountain climbers.”…Trump/Dotard
— Len Friest (@friest_len) March 13, 2018
Trump just called Mexican immigrants “professional mountain climbers”.
I just can’t.
— Olivia (@olianderrr) March 13, 2018
Late-night hosts like Stephen Colbert also criticized the president’s border-wall prototypes, even touching on his interest in visibility. “See-through means that immigrants can see a better life, but they can’t touch it,” he said.
Since announcing his presidential run, Trump has insisted that Mexico would pay for the creation of the border wall, but Mexico’s president Enrique Peña Nieto has made it clear that Mexico will not give a peso toward this project. “I regret and condemn the decision of the United States to continue construction of a wall that, for years, has divided us instead of uniting us,” Peña Nieto said in a televised address in January. “Mexico doesn’t believe in walls.”