President Trump had a 70-minute off-the-record session with reporters on Air Force One Wednesday night, only to have the White House release excerpts of the conversations Thursday. One topic that came up among the many: that border wall. The House GOP just proposed allocating $1.6 billion toward the construction of the wall — though that’s only a fraction of the wall’s total cost. Trump had previously suggested equipping the border wall with solar panels to give Mexico a discount and help defray its multi-billion-dollar price tag, and a reporter wanted to know, was he really, actually serious about that idea?
“No, not joking, no,” Trump said. “There is a chance that we can do a solar wall.” He also elaborated on other feature he’d like to see: “transparency.” Literal transparency. “You have to be able to see through it,” Trump said. “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.” Because drugs, Trump explained:
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 crazy as that sounds, you need transparency through that wall. But we have some incredible designs.
This is actually not the first time the Trump administration has talked about a see-through wall; Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney pitched a similar idea in an interview with Hugh Hewitt back in March. “Border control’s actually telling us that they like the one you can see through, because it reduces the number of violent attacks on our folks,” Mulvaney said. “So it’s a complicated program.”
Trump also admitted that his big, beautiful, solar-powered, see-through wall would only stretch “700 to 900 miles” along the 2,000-mile border because of natural barriers, such as mountains and “some rivers that are violent and vicious,” and the approximately 650 miles of physical barriers that are already in place — though those will surely be made great again. “We’re taking wall that was good but it’s in very bad shape,” he said. “We’re making it new.”