President Donald Trump’s wall along the Mexican border has taken many forms in the public imagination.
On the campaign trail, he often titillated supporters by describing the wall in superlative terms. It would be the “best wall, the biggest, the strongest, not penetrable.” It would be a “beautiful” wall. The wall could be made of precast concrete, he told the New York Times last August, and perhaps rise as high as 50 feet. Last November, days after winning the election, Trump conceded that perhaps parts of the wall could be more of a fence. Recently, during an interview on Air Force One, he floated the idea of a transparent wall, so nobody gets hit in the head by “large sacks of drugs” flying over the top.
But what if Trump’s wall was more metaphorical than physical?
That’s what Rep. Francis Rooney, a Republican congressman from Florida, thinks. In an appearance on CNN on Thursday, Rooney was asked his thoughts on the contents of leaked transcripts from the January phone call between Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Trump, in which the two leaders discussed the wall, and particularly, whether Mexico would pay for it.
Rooney said that Trump obviously invoked the wall during his campaign rallies as a “metaphor for border security.”
“No one could really believe that Mexicans were going to pay for the wall,” Rooney said. “It’s time to move on.”
Maybe the evidence for the wall being a metaphor was there all along. During his big immigration speech in Phoenix in August 2016, Trump vowed from “Day One, we will begin working on intangible, physical, tall, power, beautiful southern border wall.”
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, intangible means something that is “unable to be touched; not having physical presence.”
Trump is also no stranger to wall metaphors.
In his 2010 book, “Think Like a Champion,” Trump wrote: “Is there a brick wall getting in your way? Fine. That happens. But you have a choice. You can walk away from the wall. You can go over the wall. You can go under the wall. You can go around the wall. You can also obliterate the wall. In other words, don’t let anything get in your way.”
“You cannot stop,” Trump wrote in “Think Like a Billionaire — Everything You Need to Know About Success.” “If there is a concrete wall in front of you, you have to go through it. You can never, ever give up or even think in terms of giving up.”
And again. “When you hit a wall, find ways to go under and over, but never give up.”