The Guardian, January 30, 2020
A section of Donald Trump’s much-vaunted border wall between the United States and Mexico has blown over onto the Mexican side in high winds, US border patrol officers have been reported as saying.
The steel panels, more than 30ft (nine metres) high, began to lean at a sharp angle on the border between the Californian town of Calexico and Mexicali in Mexico amid gusts on Wednesday.
The section of wall was under construction at the time, with concrete anchors being put in place. But the strong winds blew the panels over onto the Mexican side of the border before the concrete had cured, according to reports and photographs.
“Luckily, Mexican authorities responded quickly and were able to divert traffic from the nearby street,” said border patrol agent Carlos Pitones, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The panels were being retrieved from the Mexican side and re-erected, Pitones said.
“CBP [Customs and Border Protection] will work with the construction contractor to mitigate the impact of high winds as construction continues,” Pitones said.
The news was met with derision and sarcasm by a number of Donald Trump’s political opponents.
Billionaire Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer tweeted:
“I own buildings. I’m a builder; I know how to build. Nobody can build like I can build. Nobody. And the builders in New York will tell you that. I build the best product.” –@realDonaldTrumphttps://t.co/Ygj6vKqrdQ
— Tom Steyer (@TomSteyer) January 30, 2020
Prominent migrant rights campaigner Juan Escalante said:
Point and laugh everyone, just point and laugh https://t.co/4SwQNMCzcr
— Juan Escalante (@JuanSaaa) January 30, 2020
The section of the wall is part of a wider construction effort by the Trump administration to enhance the more than 3,000km-long (1,954 miles) border barrier with Mexico.
Building a new wall was a major part of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and he has threatened to call a national emergency to obtain the $5.7bn in federal funds he claims is needed to build his “beautiful” wall.
But he has backtracked on the scale of his ambitions to build a concrete wall, instead focusing on building a barrier where there is currently nothing on the border.
Earlier this month Trump said: “The barrier or the wall can be of steel instead of concrete if that works better.”