President Donald Trump appears to have inadvertently admitted that the wall he wants to build on the border with Mexico will not prevent the flow of illegal drugs into the United States.
Until now, Trump has maintained that the wall is necessary to stop the flow of drugs (as well as illegal immigration). "We need the wall," he said at one of the presidential debates last year. "We stop the drugs. We shore up the border." It was a claim that he repeated often during campaign rallies and a talking point that he's stuck with since taking office.
So it's a bit stunning to hear the president declare—as he did on Thursday aboard Air Force One, according to a transcript from The New York Times—that huge bags of drugs will simply be tossed over the wall after it is built:
Q: You were joking about solar, right?
THE PRESIDENT: No, not joking, no. There is a chance that we can do a solar wall. We have major companies looking at that. Look, there's no better place for solar than the Mexico border—the southern border. And there is a very good chance we can do a solar wall, which would actually look good. But there is a very good chance we could do a solar wall.
One of the things with the wall is you need transparency. You have to be able to see through it. In other words, if you can't see through that wall—so it could be a steel wall with openings, but you have to have openings because you have to see what's on the other side of the wall.
And I'll give you an example. As horrible as it sounds, when they throw the large sacks of drugs over, and if you have people on the other side of the wall, you don't see them—they hit you on the head with 60 pounds of stuff? It's over. As crazy as that sounds, you need transparency through that wall. But we have some incredible designs. [Emphasis mine.]
Trump has said some crazy stuff over the past two years, but I'm not sure there's anything objectively more ridiculous than that sentence. Regardless of what you think about the president, the idea of a border wall, or the effectiveness of the War on Drugs, can we all come together for a moment—just a moment—and luxuriate in the gloriously stapsticky mental image of a 60-pound bag of drugs sailing over a massive barricade on the southern border and cold-clocking an innocent bystander?
And that, friends, is why we need a transparent wall. For safety. Because the wall isn't going to stop the flow of drugs, so at least let's not get anyone unnecessarily hurt.
Oh, but wait, it gets better. The entire conversation was supposed to be off the record, until Trump, according to the Times, changed the rules in the middle of the exchange and put the entire thing—including his comments about the importance of transparency in building the border wall—on the record for the world to see.
And for that, Mr. President, we thank you.
Here at Reason, we've been covering the problems with Trump's border wall for months, highlighting how drug smugglers already have the means to beat Trump's wall, how legalizing marijuana would do more to disrupt the flow of drugs from Mexico than any wall ever could, and how much taxpayers will have to shell out for the costly, ineffective project. In short: The Wall Won't Work. Even with holes in it.