In a wide-ranging 45-minute live interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity Wednesday night, President Donald Trump defended the $25 to $35 billion dollars he hopes to spend on a wall for the southern border. He bemoaned, however, that it would be far more effective if armed soldiers could just point machine guns at immigrants as they tried to enter the country.
“You go to a lot of the generals, they will tell you, this is a national emergency,” Trump claimed, arguing that the country needs to be defended from the people “pouring in” that officials keep “capturing.”
“But we don’t do like other countries! Other countries stand there with machine guns ready to fire,” he said. “We can’t do that and I wouldn’t want to do that, okay? It’s a very effective way of doing it and I wouldn’t want to do it. We can’t do it.” That’s why, he insisted, building more walls is essential.
Trump doubled down on his scaremongering on Thursday morning, threatening on Twitter to completely close the U.S.-Mexico border.
Mexico is doing NOTHING to help stop the flow of illegal immigrants to our Country. They are all talk and no action. Likewise, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador have taken our money for years, and do Nothing. The Dems don’t care, such BAD laws. May close the Southern Border!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2019
Trump’s claim of a national emergency at the border is a farce. The majority of Congress has confirmed as much, passing a resolution blocking his declaration — though not enough Republican lawmakers agreed to override Trump’s veto of that resolution. The Pentagon has already transferred $1 billion from a military personnel fund to begin construction of new barriers at the border.
Trump’s claim that generals agree that the border is a national emergency also falls flat. Last month, a coalition of former national security officials denounced his power grab, stating that they “are aware of no emergency that remotely justifies” his actions. On Tuesday, when members of the Senate Armed Services committee questioned Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, the commander of the U.S. Northern Command, he could provide no justification for the national emergency except to reiterate that Trump had, in fact, declared it.
Over the course of the rest of the Fox News interview, Trump talked at length about the Mueller investigation (which he described as “treasonous”) as well as several other topics. For example, he claimed that wind power doesn’t work because “it only blows sometimes,” that Democrats “hate” and “despise” Israel, and that Republican lawmakers will somehow protect people with pre-existing conditions despite pushing to overturn the very protections for this coverage in the Affordable Care Act.