John Oliver: An update on Trump’s border wall promises from 2016

Construction workers build a secondary border wall in Otay Mesa, California (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
Construction workers build a secondary border wall in Otay Mesa, California (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images) /

John Oliver discussed the defining policy of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign

After dominating much of the discussion around the 2016 election, the border wall is back in the news. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver took the opportunity to update viewers on President Donald Trump’s defining policy ahead of the 2020 election.

“Build the wall” was a chant heard at Donald Trump’ rallies, he guaranteed an impenetrable wall along the southern border, and he promised that Mexico would pay for it. His supporters loved the idea while his critics called it out as thinly-veiled racism.

Now here we are four years later in another election year. The border wall returned to the news due in part to the arrest of President Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon. Bannon was part of We Build the Wall, a group crowdsourcing funds to construct part of the border wall. However, Bannon and others are alleged to have been taking money from the fund for their own personal expenses.

So with that in mind and President Trump making more campaign promises, Last Week Tonight thought it was the right time to update viewers on the state of the border wall. As you could probably guess, things aren’t exactly going according to plan.

John Oliver exposes how there was never a sound plan for the border wall from the start

Last night’s main story is a follow-up to a segment from 2016. In that piece, Oliver explained the problems associated with then-candidate Donald Trump’s border wall proposal. Four years later, Oliver discovers that no real planning went into the idea and things have fallen well short of expectations.

The Last Week Tonight host notes issues related to the appearance of the wall and whether or not it can be climbed. Then Oliver gets into the environmental impact of the wall that has been reconstructed or built where a border wall already existed. It all gives Oliver the chance to hammer the administration and its supporters for what he calls a “vanity project.”

Most of Oliver’s segment is dedicated to investigating who is building the border wall. Not surprisingly, the responsibility was given to Fisher Sand and Gravel led by someone President Trump saw on Fox News. It’s another example of the Trump-Fox feedback loop that late-night hosts have been documenting for years. It also suggests that the administration was winging the entire construction process, going off the president’s whims.

The number of red flags that Oliver points out is mindboggling. And to top it all off, the company was tied to We Build the Wall, the now infamous organization led by Steve Bannon. Things didn’t end there as Oliver reported that Fisher has received billions in government contracts as the Trump administration plows ahead with construction and land acquisition.

It hurts him to say it but Oliver does have an “I told you so” message in this segment. The damages to the people and environment in those states where the border wall has been constructed were predicted by Last Week Tonight and others back in 2016. Yet Oliver admits that even he couldn’t see certain aspects of this story playing out the way they did. He closes out the piece by delivering what was some of his most brutal commentary on President Trump:

"This is his monument. And there’s perhaps nothing more emblematic of his presidency than this wall. It’s destructive, pointless, ineffective, racist, weak, and something that the damages of which we’re going to have to be dealing with for a very long time."

Related Story. Seth Meyers takes a closer look at Steve Bannon's arrest. light

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