Former President Donald Trump said that if he wins the presidency again, his first executive action would be to restart construction of the wall on the southern U.S. border.
The president told EpochTV’s “Kash’s Corner” on Jan. 31 that completing the wall has a significance that extends beyond domestic policy because it would project an image of strength to China’s Xi Jinping and other world leaders.
“First of all, the wall, even for him,” Trump said referring to Xi. “You know why? Because when he sees millions of people pouring into our country, he loses respect for our country.” The interview will premiere at 8 p.m. Eastern on Feb. 7.
“When [he] and Putin and Kim Jong Un and Iran’s leaders, when they’re watching millions of people walk into our country … they lose respect.”
President Joe Biden rescinded or froze dozens of Trump’s border policies upon taking office in January last year. The relaxed policies have led to a flood of illegal aliens crossing the border in volumes unseen for decades.
Border Patrol agents apprehended 1.9 million illegal crossers in 2021, four times as many as were apprehended in 2020 under Trump. The number of unaccompanied children crossing the U.S.–Mexico border reached an all-time high in 2021.
Biden froze the construction of the wall with an executive order issued on the day of his inauguration. Millions of dollars worth of materials have languished in the deserts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas since and could now be sold for scrap for pennies on the dollar. The wall’s accompanying roads, cameras, and sensors have remained uninstalled or unfinished.
Building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border was a Trump signature campaign promise. Democrats in Congress fought against funding the project tooth and nail and at one point shut down the government to block money for construction. Trump prevailed and, by the time he left office, the government built more than 450 miles of wall. More than 200 miles of fencing were under construction when Trump left the White House.
“It’s so easy. You close it up, you’ve got to close it up. And that would send a big signal, a really big signal,” Trump told Epoch TV.
“And then you’ve got to get their respect again. How do you do that?” the former president added. “You do that by making sure that they know that this country is here, and it’s here to stay and we’re not going to take any nonsense.”
Biden called the border situation a “crisis” in April last year, but the White House later walked it back and has refused to use the word publicly since.
The full exclusive interview will premiere on EpochTV.com at 8 p.m. Eastern on Feb. 7.
Charlotte Cuthbertson contributed to this report.