Trump condemns private Texas border wall built by his supporters 'to make me look bad'

Former Trump allies Steve Bannon and Kris Kobach serve in senior roles for group criticised by president

Griffin Connolly
Washington
Sunday 12 July 2020 17:45 BST
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Donald Trump has criticised a group of his supporters who privately financed and built a wall along the US-Mexico border in South Texas earlier this year because the wall is already deteriorating from erosion.

The privately-funded wall was "only done to make me look bad," the president tweeted on Sunday - despite the group, “We Build the Wall,” raising $25million in two years to erect it, in a show of support for Mr Trump's immigration and border security initiatives.

The group first launched its fundraising effort during the government shutdown of December 2018 when Congress would not agree to fund Mr Trump's wall proposal.

Mr Trump's former campaign CEO and chief political strategist Steve Bannon and Kansas GOP Senate candidate Kris Kobach have served in leading roles for the group that funded the private wall.

The federal government has since awarded a $1.3bn contract to the company that built the portion of the wall funded by the grassroots effort, North Dakota-based Fisher industries, making them the most expensive of all border wall contractors, the Associated Press reported.

Experts have complained that the roughly three-mile stretch of steel posts was built too close to the Rio Grande that separates the US and Mexico, and that erosion of the organic material helping stabilise the fence's foundation has begun to erode, ProPublica and the Texas Tribune have reported.

Mr Trump tweeted his dissatisfaction with the private portion of the wall on Sunday.

“I disagreed with doing this very small (tiny) section of wall, in a tricky area, by a private group which raised money by ads,” the president wrote. “It was only done to make me look bad, and perhaps it now doesn’t even work. Should have been built like rest of Wall, 500 plus miles."

Mr Trump was responding to the report from ProPublica and the Texas Tribune.

The CEO of Fisher Industries, Tommy Fisher, dismissed such concerns, telling the AP he believed Mr Trump “just got some misinformation on this stuff” while reaffirming his "complete respect" for the president.

“The wall will stand for 150 years, you mark my words,” Mr Fisher told the AP.

Mr Trump, meanwhile, has continued to tout the border wall's development, tweeting that the US has built 240 miles of it under his watch and promising hundreds more miles by the end of the year.

Additional wire reporting

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