Trump: Privately Funded Border Wall ‘Done to Make Me Look Bad’

July 13, 2020 Updated: July 14, 2020

A section of fencing constructed by a private company along the Texas–Mexico border was built “to make me look bad,” President Donald Trump claimed over the weekend.

“I disagreed with doing this very small (tiny) section of wall, in a tricky area, by a private group which raised money by ads,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Trump was reacting to a story that reported the wall is showing signs of runoff erosion only months after being completed. The story cited engineers and hydrologists who looked at pictures of the wall. Fisher Industries, a North Dakota-based construction firm, erected the three-mile stretch of fencing on the U.S.–Mexico border.

“It was only done to make me look bad, and perhsps [sic] it now doesn’t even work.” The section should have been built like the rest of the wall, he added.

 

US border wall construction
A loader grades land near a section of privately built border wall under construction near Mission, Texas, on Dec. 11, 2019. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Mark Courtois, an attorney for Fisher Industries, told ProPublica that erosion is “a normal part of new construction projects like this and does not in any way compromise the fence or associated roadway.”

The company is planning to build drainage ditches to help alleviate the situation, he added.

While Fisher Industries didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment, company CEO Tommy Fisher told The Associated Press that Trump “got some misinformation on this stuff,” and that he respects the president.

“The wall will stand for 150 years, you mark my words,” Fisher added.

A judge ordered a temporary halt on the construction of the barrier in December 2019, but the order was lifted by the same judge a month later.

The U.S. government, which sued Fisher Industries, failed to show that the wall’s construction could change the course of Rio Grande and violate a treaty, Southern District of Texas Judge Randy Crane ruled.

Border Wall Fundraiser Tommy
Fisher Industries CEO Tommy Fisher, right, talks with Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) at the lawmaker’s office in Washington on Jan. 30, 2019. (Sen. Kevin Cramer’s office via AP)

Brian Kolfage, a veteran and founder of We Build the Wall, a nonprofit that raised millions to build sections of the wall, told The Epoch Times that the group is a passive investor in the section of wall in question and had no say in any of the decision-making.

The barrier that Fisher Industries built on the river “effectively stops everyone from entering the USA,” Kolfage said in a text message, “versus the US Army corps of engineers [sic] wall, which is built over a mile inland and stops no one from entering the USA.”

Another section of privately-built fencing received support from “Angel” families, the relatives of those who have been killed by illegal immigrants.

“This wall means the world to me,” said Michelle Root, whose daughter was killed by an illegal immigrant, at a press conference last year.

“It reignites the fire within me to see what can be done. And to see that private citizens—American citizens—donated to this, and we have wonderful people working on it. Things our government couldn’t do, us American people could come together and do.”

Charlotte Cuthbertson and Mimi Nguyen Ly contributed to this report.

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