During a December 11 meeting with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, President Trump waxed heavily on the construction and repair of the U.S. border wall with Mexico. The barrier, which is central to the president’s base, needs to show serious construction if Trump is to retain a potent image among his supporters.
Trump immediately inflated the amount of construction on the border done since the beginning of his term, but Pelosi wasn’t having it. Politifact, similarly, popped that beautiful, fabricated image in Trump’s head, pointing out that much of the construction and repair since his arrival actually consists of about 40 miles of steel bollard wall. The Obama administration identified bollard wall as fencing, but the Trump administration got some extra mileage out of it by calling it an actual border wall.
The Department of Homeland Security rushed to the president’s defense two days after Pelosi and Schumer blew him out of the water. The department issued a hastily-scribbled release filled with sloppy language befitting a horse stomping a farmer’s iPad. The writers managed to get through the document’s headline without error, but that’s about where the perfection ended.
“DHS is committed to building wall and building wall quickly,” the document grunted in caveman speak. “We are not replacing short, outdated and ineffective wall with similar wall. Instead, under this President we are building a wall that is 30-feet high.”
The second paragraph also appeared to forget the purpose of useful article words, such as “the”:
“FACT: Prior to President Trump taking office,” it stated, “We have never built wall that high.”
At that point, Twitter pounced:
WE BUILD WALL.
WE BUILD WALL QUICKLY.
NEVER BUILD WALL THAT HIGH BEFORE.
BIG WALL GOOD. SHORT WALL BAD.
USA! USA! USA! pic.twitter.com/xh5IlSWiur
— Jules Suzdaltsev (@jules_su) December 13, 2018
This is a press release on the DHS website right now. It sounds like written by a 1930s era movie Tarzan. pic.twitter.com/tDaP5XFMyq
— tommy frayne (@frayne) December 13, 2018
The hits kept coming from there, with similar comparisons to Neanderthals, superheroes, and Muppets, among other things.
The casual effortlessness of the administration’s incompetence is making some people nervous. Trump already had a habit of hiring people who weren’t necessarily the best of the best when he first entered office, but Washington Post opinion Writer Tom Nichols offered some suggestions as to why the president’s hired help appears to be growing increasingly more inept as the months drag on.
“His inability to recruit, or to even to listen to, top people has hampered everything from Trump’s foreign policy to his own legal defense,” Nichols wrote. “His hostility to sound advice, coupled with reliance on his frequently terrible instincts, has produced a kind of synergy … of incompetence in the White House and beyond: Things go wrong on the world stage, Capitol Hill or with the media.
“Trump never blames himself, instead blaming everyone else, including the people who work for him. Experts — also known as people who know what they’re doing — have had two years to observe this and have understandably become less willing to work for him. Their numbers inside the administration dwindle, lesser lights take over, more mistakes are made; lather, rinse, repeat.”