Analysis by Summer Lane | Photo: Alamy
President Donald Trump admirably stood his ground onstage Wednesday night at a CNN town hall event, battling the moderator and host, Kaitlan Collins, who focused on attacking him on Democrat talking points for the duration of the evening.
Collins, who tried to hammer Trump on tired issues like Jan. 6, E. Jean Carroll, and the FBI’s confiscation of documents that were at Mar-a-Lago, made several colorful claims in her debate with the president.
Notably, in a discussion regarding immigration and border security, Collins argued that Trump had only built “52 miles” of wall at the southern border. Trump rebutted that he had built “hundreds” of miles of wall.
Collins’ claim was patently untrue. According to a border wall status update from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in January 2021, 458 miles of new primary and secondary border wall had been constructed. Additionally, 206 miles of primary and secondary wall were “currently under contract” and 74 miles were in the “pre-construction phase.”
Collins’ “52 miles” claim stems from the construction of only new primary border wall construction, which included areas where no barriers had existed previously. The bulk of Trump’s mission to “build the wall” was, as most Americans are aware, focused on repairing the dilapidated wall system that had become crestfallen and non-effective over the years.
To that end, Trump completed 458 miles of wall and was set to complete 738 miles of wall in total by funneling $15 billion into the construction project from January 2017 and onward.
On Oct. 29, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security and the CBP even celebrated 400 miles of border wall construction in an official press release.
“Today the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) celebrated the construction of nearly 400 miles of new border wall system, in high priority locations across the Southwest border under the Trump Administration,” they stated.
At that time, the DHS and the CBP estimated that approximately 10 new miles of wall were being completed every week.
Trump’s town hall with CNN on Wednesday came just one day before the Trump-era immigration policy, Title 42, was set to be terminated.
“In just a few hours, Joe Biden will allow Title 42 to terminate and he will open the flood gates to a border crisis never before seen and never thought possible,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., wrote on Twitter just after the town hall. “We must re-elect President Trump for a third time in 2024!! #MAGA”