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President Donald Trump assured some young children gathered for the annual White House Easter Egg Roll Monday that, yes, thousands of miles away, the government was building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
It’s unclear whether the children had asked for assurance.
“It’s happening, it’s being built now,” Trump said of the wall, talking to a gaggle of children standing on the South Lawn. “Here’s a young guy who said, ‘Keep building that wall.’ Do you believe it? He’s going to be a conservative some day,” he said to no one in particular.
Trump, who authorized border-wall funding through an emergency declaration after the longest government shutdown in U.S. history didn’t produce the cash necessary, has a history of boosting his policy proposals to unsuspecting children. Memorably, at the July 2017 Boy Scouts Jamboree, after kicking off his remarks by saying “Who the hell wants to speak about politics when I’m in front of the Boy Scouts?”, Trump criticized president Barack Obama and talked about repealing Obamacare.
Some of the federal money being redirected toward the wall could take away from schools and childcare centers for military children, according to Reuters. Trump has repeatedly said the wall is necessary to stem the rise of migrants flowing across the U.S. southern border, many of them seeking asylum and escaping violence in Central American countries.
However, some of his anti-immigrant rhetoric has also been accused of stoking violence toward asylum seekers. Last week, armed vigilantes on the border captured and videotaped hundreds of migrants at gunpoint, including young children, to turn over to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. In one video the group took of its round-up, a woman can be heard saying “How bad does it have to get until we build the wall? This is an invasion.” The FBI arrested the leader of the right-wing militia behind that event over the weekend.
Cover: President Donald Trump talks with children as they color on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, April 22, 2019, during the annual White House Easter Egg Roll. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)