Trump worries 60-pound bags of drugs might injure border agents
On a flight across the Atlantic to participate in France’s Bastille Day celebrations, President Trump held an impromptu press briefing with reporters riding in the back of the Air Force One.
While not a formal press conference, the White House provided a transcript of the discussion. Below is the somewhat curious, and rambling, answer the 45th Commander-in-Chief gave to a simple question:
Q – You were joking about solar, right?
THE PRESIDENT: No, not joking, no. There is a chance that we can do a solar wall. We have major companies looking at that. Look, there’s no better place for solar than the Mexico border — the southern border. And there is a very good chance we can do a solar wall, which would actually look good. But there is a very good chance we could do a solar wall.
One of the things with the wall is you need transparency. You have to be able to see through it. In other words, if you can’t 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.
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 cray [sic] as that sounds, you need transparency through that wall. But we have some incredible designs.
There is a lot to unpack here. First is the notion of a “solar” wall.
On the one hand, it’s not entirely unfeasible that border barriers might use solar power. Trump is right about his meteorological geography: the U.S.-Mexico border is fairly sunny.
However, he doesn’t seem to understand that this wouldn’t mean the wall is made out of solar panels. He seems to imagine a structure made of gleaming transparent solar power arrays, which is not the kind of border barrier anybody has considered before.
Trump wants border wall to be “transparent” and solar-powered, which he seems to think are the same thing.
On the “transparency” point… again there’s a grain of truth to what he’s talking about, but as usual that gets mangled by his fuzzy grasp of the details. Projectiles being thrown across the border wall are indeed a safety hazard. But, though rare, those come in the form of rocks and glass bottles and the like being thrown by angry people on the Mexican side.
It’s also true that bags full of drugs— maybe weighing as much as sixty pounds– are indeed regularly hurled over the border, sometimes by purpose-built catapults.
They are not, however, generally thrown directly at border patrol agents as projectile weapons. The general idea is not to throw the drugs at the cops.
(Photo of French President Emmanuel Macron welcoming President Trump prior to a meeting at the Elysee Presidential Palace on July 13, 2017 in Paris, France, by Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images)