On the campaign trail and trips to the southern border, President Trump has called his big, beautiful wall “tough,” “virtually impenetrable,” and hot enough “to fry an egg on.” On a September visit to the Otay Mesa border site in San Diego, he boasted, “This wall is not something that can be really knocked down.”
But on Wednesday, Customs and Border Protection confirmed to CNN that newly installed wall panels in Calexico, California, were knocked down by wind gusts of up to 37 miles per hour, causing the metal slats to timber into Mexican territory:
Agent Carlos Pitones of the Customs and Border Protection sector in El Centro, California, told CNN that the sections that gave way had recently been set in a new concrete foundation in Calexico, California. The concrete had not yet cured, according to Pitones, and the wall panels were unable to withstand the windy conditions.
The wall has faced a few setbacks that contradict Trump’s claims of near-impenetrability, like in November when the Washington Post reported that smugglers were using reciprocating saws — available for less than $100 — to cut through sections of the steel-bollard barrier in minutes. And though the president has claimed that no one would be able to climb the wall, smugglers have found a simple summiting method, using rebar ladders to hoist up one side, and rope ladders to scale down the other.
The fall of the inland California wall section is certainly less embarrassing than the cost-per-mile of the Trump administration’s campaign wish fulfillment on the border. Two weeks ago, the White House grabbed another $7.2 billion in Pentagon funding for the wall, to bring the total taxpayer cost to $18.4 billion. Last week, the administration celebrated the great success of that sum after hitting the 100th mile of wall built under Trump, a majority of it serving as replacement for existing border structures.