December 31, 2018

Is it news that Trump's wall is not a wall made out of concrete?

I'm trying to read "Kelly, on His Way Out, Says Administration Long Ago Abandoned Idea of Concrete Wall" by Maggie Haberman in the NYT.
The concrete border wall that President Trump has repeatedly called for as a signature campaign promise...
What? Trump has been repeatedly calling for a "concrete" wall? I thought he'd been saying all along that it needs to be see-through and couldn't be a solidly opaque wall. The word "concrete" is ambiguous. Is the NYT using it to mean the opposite of "abstract" or does it mean (as I assume) the building material, the stuff poured from cement trucks?

Let me start again. I reject the premise of this story, that Trumpsters have been picturing a certain type of wall, with a particular material.
The concrete border wall that President Trump has repeatedly called for as a signature campaign promise is not actually a wall...
Not actually a wall? What does that mean? What is "a wall"? What does it mean to be "actually a wall"?
... and has not been since “early on in the administration,” the outgoing White House chief of staff, John F. Kelly, said in an interview published on Sunday....

“To be honest, it’s not a wall,” Mr. Kelly told The Los Angeles Times.
Well, in the negotiations over funding the barrier at the border, the terminology matters, because everyone wants to win. If you can get the thing built by stopping saying "wall" and by declaring that Trump didn't get the "wall" he promised, then which side won?
Mr. Kelly, whose last day in his role is Monday, said he had sought advice from Customs and Border Protection officials early in 2017, when he was the homeland security secretary. Mr. Kelly said he was told that “we need a physical barrier in certain places, we need technology across the board, and we need more people.”

He went on: “The president still says ‘wall’ — oftentimes frankly he’ll say ‘barrier’ or ‘fencing,’ now he’s tended toward steel slats. But we left a solid concrete wall early on in the administration, when we asked people what they needed and where they needed it.”
See what I mean? Kelly isn't telling me something I didn't already know, and I think Trump supporters who have been paying attention will not be surprised. Is Kelly hurting Trump by talking like that? I don't think so, because he's giving Democrats cover. I think Trump is trying to offer that cover. Can we all get on the same page and say there needs to be a barrier across the whole southern border, with the nature of that barrier based on good design attuned to the conditions at every point?

UPDATE: Here's Trump himself, tweeting:
An all concrete Wall was NEVER ABANDONED, as has been reported by the media. Some areas will be all concrete but the experts at Border Patrol prefer a Wall that is see through (thereby making it possible to see what is happening on both sides). Makes sense to me!

62 comments:

campy said...

Fake News in today's NYT!? Wow, that makes 365 days this year!

David Begley said...

And here’s the other thing the Fake News doesn’t get about Trump. They love to cackle and laugh at Trump’s promise that Mexico will pay for the Wall. Those morons think Mexico will write a check; one of those giant symbolic checks. And then Mexico will hand it over on the deck of The Missouri. El Chapo will attend; in chains and at gunpoint.

Trump is a real estate guy. He’ll just not pay Mexico $10b that we “owe” them. That’s the way I always figured it, Anyone who has a passing knowledge of real estate could figure that out.

Breezy said...

I had the same reaction to Kelly’s comment. Who thought it had to be concrete wall? The narrative is under adjustment.

David Begley said...

Here’s the other way Mexico pays for the Wall.

“The EL CHAPO Act would put any amounts forfeited by either “El Chapo” — or anybody else convicted of selling or transporting illegal narcotics across the border — into construction of a border wall with Mexico.
The full name of the legislation is the Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order Act. It was introduced in April 2017 by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), labelled S. 39.”

Trump will divert the money by EO and use it for the Wall. Add that to the Articles of Impeachment Dems.

David Begley said...

Forgot. $14b to be forfeited by El Chapo after he is convicted.

Hagar said...

1. A "cement truck" would be one of the special semi-trailer rigs used to transport bulk Portland concrete cement from the cement manufacturing plant to the ready-mix plants.

2. I am reading a biography of Buffalo Bill, which has a chapter on the number of people who claimed that he was the real creator of the Wild West show; Buffalo Bill was just the figurehead. The biographer says this is not unusual and mentions a series of other famous people who had the same experience - especially after they were dead and could no longer protest.

rehajm said...

I think Trump is trying to offer that cover

I think you're right.

Ann Althouse said...

"A "cement truck" would be one of the special semi-trailer rigs..."

I'm not trying to say what equipment would be used, only to describe the stuff that the word "concrete" might refer to (when it could alternatively refer only to the opposite of "abstract"). That is, a steel-slat wall/fence or even a chain-link fence is concrete (in the latter sense).

Leland said...

Can we all get on the same page and say there needs to be a barrier across the whole southern border, with the nature of that barrier based on good design attuned to the conditions at every point?

That's the page I've been on for 32 years. I was promised something like it.

gilbar said...

how about this 'compromise'?
no physical wall, an electronic wall that (really) makes people stop being able to hire illegals

The cool thing about it; is that it is...
a total cave in to what the democrats 'say' they want; and there is No Way In Hell they'd agree

Think i'm wrong? propose it to a democrat, and see what they say?

rehajm said...

taking him literally, deceptively.

rhhardin said...

Speaking of barrier methods, there's an E E Cummings poem

I had cement for her,
merrily
we became each
other humped to tumbling
garble when
a
minute pulled the sluice
emerging.
Concrete

[spacing approximate.]

Darrell said...

Beto wants those AI robot dogs like in the Black Mirror episode Metalhead.

Bastard.

A wall is much kinder.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbHBWndqlbY

FIDO said...

Shrug

Barbed wire

Concrete

Steel slats

Rotating blades of assured death

Minefields

Moats full of sharks with laser beams in their heads

I want a real, not a 'digitial' or 'virtual' barrier to entry to the US. Nothing that a hypothetical Democrat president can just 'turn off' and have the Press not bother to mention that the Southern Border is vulnerable yet again.

I don't care who pays for it. I'll pay a few extra hundred dollars for it. Heck, I'll take a week off and help lay the (concrete/bricks/baby shark cyborgs) out to help get it built.

I don't hate Mexicans. I hate the actions of criminals.

BamaBadgOR said...

Ann, thank you for this. You've pointed out the fatal flaw in the Beto video too. No one wants to build a concrete wall at the top of a river canyon that no one can descend into and out of, etc.

FIDO said...

Just as an aside: If we had everyone in America 'pay' extra, it would only come out to $75 per person for a $25 billion dollar wall.

Hagar said...

"Cement" is Latin for "glue" and refers to the grey powdery stuff that is used to make Portland cement concrete.

Gahrie said...

Can we all get on the same page and say there needs to be a barrier across the whole southern border, with the nature of that barrier based on good design attuned to the conditions at every point?

You would think so...but we live in a world where Democratic elected officials can compare border enforcement (the same exact border enforcement that occurred under Obama) to NAZI atrocities and be celebrated.

WisRich said...

Agreed Ann. What Kelly said is not surpriseing to anybody paying attention. Trump on various occasions has reiterated what Border agents want and need: a steel fence so agents can see what's going on the other side. Trump has been very good at deferring to the experts in this.

What's amazing is how the press blows his comments out of proportion just so they can make it appear another aministration official is taking a shot at Trump.

Build the wall/fence/physical barrier!

iowan2 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hagar said...

...and loads it in a cement truck for delivery.

No. ... loads it into a concrete truck (may be a ready-mix truck - that is one of those with the revolving barrels - or a "belly dump, or whatever) for delivery.

iowan2 said...

I'm not trying to say what equipment would be used, only to describe the stuff that the word "concrete" might refer to

He is being pedantic. Or, since the subject is President Trump, speaking literally.
There is no such thing as a cement wall. Cement is the the grey, talc like substance, that is mixed with sand, aggregate and water to make cement. Thus a cement truck is the Semi that delivers the cement to the concrete plant, that does the mixing, and loads it in a concrete truck for delivery.
This is goal post moving by the left. Changing the narrative to declare victory. Construction people don't correct people that use, cement and concrete, interchangeably. That's more of a dick move used by leftist, in a silly attempt to show how smart they are.

iowan2 said...

Hagar, thanks for the proof reading. I reposted my corrected version. Thanks again.

paminwi said...

FIDO! Fabulous!
And then let's move to this!
Concrete not to build a wall but concrete slurry to pour into the tunnels that will run between Mexico and the US!
Israel has shown this works!
Hamas running out of a tunnel and then trying to contain the slurry was great video watching!

Kevin said...

Who thought it had to be concrete wall?

You won’t be surprised to know Chuck was here yesterday making a big to do about it.

rhhardin said...

Kliban, Fent
https://i.pinimg.com/originals/93/e9/2e/93e92e755b98f751d7c59a8d84851800.jpg

Hagar said...

That's more of a dick move used by leftist, in a silly attempt to show how smart they are.
I am worse than that. I even used to routinely pull up construction people when they spoke of "pouring" concrete in my presence; concrete is to be placed, not "poured." It is a good way to get them to actually read the project specifications and pay attention to what they are doing.

tcrosse said...

They could make the Wall out of ticky-tacky, and it will all look just the same.

Chuck said...

You’ve embarrassed yourself with this embarrassing word-game of a post, Althouse.

As I commented in the previous cafe post, there isn’t going to be a full-border physical barrier, and much of it won’t be any sort of wall at all. Your silly posturing about how Kelly is mistaken about “concrete” is dumb. The Israelis don’t have a concrete wall and what the Israelis have really is the model of what Trump and his small group of supporters on this issue.

Trump keeps talking about “a great wall.” Kelly was saying what it won’t be. It won’t be a continuous physical barrier. It won’t be a wall at all. There might be some walls, in some places. As already exists.

And Althouse, since you’re being so material-specific in this post, what is it that Trump proposes for his wall? It is Trump’s signature issue. What does Trump’s wall look like; where would it be placed and how much will it cost US taxpayers? We already know it won’t cost Mexican taxpayers a single peso.

Original Mike said...

"If you can get the thing built by stopping saying "wall" and by declaring that Trump didn't get the "wall" he promised, then which side won?"

That's easy. The good guys.

Chuck said...

Blogger Kevin said...
“Who thought it had to be concrete wall?”

You won’t be surprised to know Chuck was here yesterday making a big to do about it.


I stand by what I wrote yesterday. Which wasn’t about “concrete” at all. I am very pleased with what I wrote in the context of this blog post by Althouse.

You didn’t quote me, Kevin, so I will. This is what I wrote:


What I think is the right thing to do, is just what General Kelly described. Multi-layered border security including more personnel, more technology, and some limited combination of walls, fences, other physical barriers or no barriers at all in certain places depending on need and appropriate circumstances.

What Trump is never going to get is a Great Wall that Mexico will pay for. Trump needs to renounce that and admit that his campaign pledge was baloney.

Paul said...

Actually I was thinking of a MINEFIELD.

Aunty Trump said...

The concrete border wall that President Trump has repeatedly called for as a signature campaign promise is not actually a wall...

They say “repeatedly” when they mean “purportedly.” It’s a simple error that can be explained as a good faith mistake. Just like all the others.

Aunty Trump said...

Chuck, I challenge you to find an actual Trump supporter who will be upset if their is a border barrier and Mexico doesn’t pay for it directly, as opposed to through lack of remittances.

mccullough said...

Chuck,

My condolences on the demise of The Weekly Standard.

narciso said...

Fencing sensors et al is just maginot or that permeable barrier that Westmoreland set up in vietnam.

Gahrie said...

Trump needs to renounce that and admit that his campaign pledge was baloney.

If it was, it is absolutely the first time that that has ever happened in American politics.

Rusty said...

Pre stressed precast concrete. Concrete has an unusual property in that the older it gets the harder it gets.

Is our Chuck-the master of half truths-but hurt by althouse again?

Aunty Trump said...

My condolences on the demise of The Weekly Standard.

He. was their last reader. They even lost gadfly to the WaPo.

Aunty Trump said...

The nice thing about a wall made up of. sensors is that you can simply tell Border Patrol to ignore them, depending on who is elected. That’s why they hate a wall, it ties the hands of the deep state a little bit.

LYNNDH said...

My thought on what should be on the border are a little bit more radical. Therefore, I can't voice them in public. Big Brother is watching and listening.

Aunty Trump said...

Same with E-Verify, it can be undone with the simple resistance of the Deep State. They can do it in secret. They can’t tear down a wall in secret, it will have to be an open act of the renunciation of our national sovereignty.

Chuck said...

Blogger tim in vermont said...
Chuck, I challenge you to find an actual Trump supporter who will be upset if their is a border barrier and Mexico doesn’t pay for it directly, as opposed to through lack of remittances.


Trump could shoot somebody in the middle of Fifth Avenue and Trump cultists wouldn’t care.

Just don’t kid yourself that Trump was elected, or could win re-election, with the support of his cultists. He won by the narrowest of margins, with the votes of thousands or millions who aren’t happy with him and who don’t like him.

You are the perfect counterpart to the Obamabots who would have happily voted for Obama as President for Life if they could. Because he could do no wrong.

Original Mike said...

"The nice thing about a wall made up of. sensors is that you can simply tell Border Patrol to ignore them, depending on who is elected. That’s why they hate a wall, it ties the hands of the deep state a little bit."

Yep. Even Chuck must understand that.

narciso said...

Like pulse nightclub where the victims got no justice because the father of the perpetrator wa a 15 year bureau asset, or parkland where they did kick sheriff Israel out on his keester.

Roger Sweeny said...

Mr. Kelly ... said he had sought advice from Customs and Border Protection officials ... said he was told that “we need a physical barrier in certain places, we need technology across the board, and we need more people.”

What a surprise. The Custom and Border Protection officials say we need more employees in their organization. And they need more technology. But we basically don't need a barrier that works without them.

I am shocked!

Martin said...

I'm all for improved physical and tech security at the border, but without universal mandatory eVerify and serious tracking and pursuit of visa overstays it's all hollow.

And while I generally support Trump on immigration, I do wonder if his lack of commitment to eVerify could have anything to do with how the Trump Organization staffs its resorts, golf clubs, and luxury apartment buildings.

Not Sure said...

I read this as a sign that the Dems are preparing to cave on the gov't shutdown, and this will be their talking point.

readering said...

Althouse like those producers on the Apprentice working to make their star seem logical and coherent.

Chuck said...

Blogger tim in vermont said...
Chuck, I challenge you to find an actual Trump supporter who will be upset if their is a border barrier and Mexico doesn’t pay for it directly, as opposed to through lack of remittances.


I am sorry but the first time I ridiculed this comment from tim in vermont I was not as critical on the substance as I should have been.

The idea that “reduced remittances” to Mexico somehow pays for US infrastructure is some classic Trumpian dumb shit. Reduced remittances just means there are fewer Meskins here working and getting paid and sending money home to Mexico. The Mexican government isn’t losing money and they aren’t paying for any wall. The money involved doesn’t go to the US government. It just slows down the businesses who hired the Meskins.

None of it helps to pay for a US border wall.

So who is going to clean rooms at Trump National Bedminster?

Bob Boyd said...

"The concrete border wall that President Trump has repeatedly called for as a signature campaign promise is not actually a wall..."

Bollards!

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
iowan2 said...

Chuck breys:;
fewer Meskins here working and getting paid and sending money home to Mexico. The Mexican government isn’t losing money and they aren’t paying for any wall.

Isn't that cute, Chuck thinks the govt has money. Wholly unaware that the only money they have, they take, by threat of force, from its citizens. To be Clear, according to Chuck, if Mexican citizens living in Mexico, receive half the remittances from their US based citizens, there would be zero effect to the Mexican Treasury.

Char Char Binks said...

When is a wall not a wall?

Phidippus said...

I seem to recall that Mexico manufactures quite a bit of cement, and I suppose, the concrete that is made with it (the other ingredients being sand and pebbles, which are plentiful in Mexico, at least the part of it that I could see from the Otay Mesa in San Diego). We buy the concrete from them, pour it into forms with some US-made rebar, there's your wall. Win for both sides-- Trump would approve.

todd galle said...

A whole bunch of 'Front Toward Enemy' sections would work in certain areas. I always thought soccer would be more interesting if the ref's places 4 land mines, 2 in each half, the night before a match. If, as I believe, this is a subversive invasion by alien intruders, Claymores are more than appropriate.

Birkel said...

The MSM narrative is sort of like a hurricane.
Every now and then the eye wall loses structure because of wind shear caused by a collision with facts.
The eye wall of the narrative must reorganize and reform around some newly structure narrative eye wall.

This cycle resembles what Althouse observes.

rcocean said...

Did anyone read the National Review take on "The Wall"? Seems they're in the middle and can't decide who's more wrong the Democrats or Trump.

Conservative magazine? LOL!

ken in tx said...

Cement is like flour. Concrete is like bread. Construction people may not correct you but engineers will.

Inga...Allie Oop said...

Hahahahaha, Trump meant a concrete wall afterall. So much for trying to translate Trump.

Inga...Allie Oop said...

“Althouse like those producers on the Apprentice working to make their star seem logical and coherent.”

Yes, but why?

Inga...Allie Oop said...

“Who thought it had to be concrete wall?”

Trump. He said so himself today.

Just gotta laugh at you folks trying so hard to make excuses for him and he goes ahead and reiterates what you try so hard to disprove him saying.