Trump’s promise to build the wall

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The construction of a wall on the Mexican-American border and shifting of the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem were among the biggest promises made by US President Donald Trump during his election campaign. Trump stated that he would make Mexico pay for the construction of the wall, the construction of which his opponents and even some loyalists considered to be unnecessary, illogical and immoral.

Everybody thought that building the wall was only an electoral promise for winning local support and that it would be one of the promises that would evaporate after the election.

However, after his unexpected victory, President Trump continued to talk about the wall, reaffirming that he would make Mexico finance its construction. In a televised speech, the Mexican president announced that he had said repeatedly that Mexico would not meet Trump’s demand to pay for a border wall. He expressed his regret and condemnation over the decision to go ahead with building a wall that “separates us rather than uniting us.”

After winning the election in which Russia is said to have played a role, Trump proceeded to fulfill his campaign promises. The first was Trump’s promise to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as if the holy city were a piece of land in New York owned by Trump. He ordered the US embassy in Israel shifted to Jerusalem in flagrant violations of all international resolutions that reiterated that Jerusalem was occupied land. Moreover, Trump boasted that he had given something to Israel, despite the fact that it was like giving something that he did not own to those who did not deserve it, in defiance of basic international norms and laws.

Then Trump turned his attention to the construction of the wall on the Mexican border, but backtracked from his earlier demand that Mexico should pay for its construction. Mexico considers the wall to be an obstacle to maintaining sound, advanced and fruitful relations between the two neighbors, which have a trade agreement with Canada.

Trump then insisted that construction of the wall should to be funded by allocations from the US budget. However, after securing a majority in the House of Representatives, the Democrats took the position that they would not approve any funding for the construction of the wall, while Trump reiterated his determination to build the wall, and requested a budget amounting to $5.6 billion for the purpose. Trump emphasized that construction of the wall was necessary to prevent both the flow of illegal immigration and the smuggling of drugs. He described the situation at the US border with Mexico as a humanitarian and security crisis, while attributing this to illegal immigration and smuggling.

He said: “Our southern border is a pipeline for vast quantities of illegal drugs including heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl.” Trump blamed his Democratic opponents for the government’s shutdown that he ordered because of their refusal to finance the construction of the wall, which, he insisted, was necessary for border security.

As for the Democrats, they were not convinced of any of Trump’s justifications for building a wall. They cited several reasons for their rejection of the wall, saying that it was unnecessary and an immorality. They also pointed out that no other borders of the country are protected by a wall. They articulated their conviction that by means of the wall, the president wanted to please some of his supporters in order to win their backing when he ran for a second term in 2020.

A meeting, convened by Trump, at the White House to resolve the impasse of the government shutdown ended in failure. Subsequently, the president threatened that the shutdown could go on for months or years unless the Democrats passed a bill to fund the building of the wall. He also threatened that he might declare a national emergency as an extraordinary action to bypass Congress, stating that he had the right to do so. But observers warned of serious consequences if he resorted to such a measure.

Analysts have pointed out that the actions of President Trump transgress the values and traditions of the United States, followed by his predecessors. According to Trump, all the calamities and misfortunes suffered by the United States were caused by his predecessor Barack Obama and his administration. For Trump, all the achievements made during the era of Obama were evil and hence he pledged to abolish them. The health care system known as Obamacare is the best example of this. Trump vowed to eliminate this system but he has not been successful in doing so. However, he continues to challenge all the things that Obama did whether they are right or wrong. Observers say that such things have not happened in any period of time in the past in the country.

Dr. Ali Al-Ghamdi is a former Saudi diplomat who specializes in Southeast Asian affairs. He can be reached at algham@hotmail.com


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