By Jonathan Easley
May 03, 2017
White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Wednesday clashed with a Breitbart reporter over accusations that President Trump has failed to deliver on his promised border wall.
Spicer brought a slide show to the briefing room that showed fencing along the southern border in a state of disrepair. He then showed slides to indicate what the fencing would look like under the new congressional spending bill that appropriates nearly $500 million for repairs, including the erection of levee and bollard walls to bolster security in some places.
“Is that a photo of a fence or a wall?” asked Breitbart News senior White House correspondent Charlie Spiering.
“That is called a bollard wall and that is called a levee wall,” Spicer responded.
“So that’s the wall Trump promised?” Spiering asked.
“There are various walls that can be built under the legislation that is just passed,” Spicer said.
The two went back and forth over whether the repairs that could take place under the fiscal 2017 spending bill would constitute the construction of a wall or merely additions to a fence, before CNN’s Jim Acosta broke in.
“It’s not the wall the president promised,” Acosta said.
The White House is under pressure from some on the right — including Breitbart, the right-wing outlet once helmed by White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon — to deliver on Trump’s promise to build a border wall.
On Tuesday, Breitbart’s Washington political editor Matthew Boyle wrote a report accusing Trump’s communications team of “claiming inaccurately that there is border wall funding in the spending bill before Congress.”
“The move comes as the administration is facing political heat for the failure to obtain federal appropriations in the new omnibus spending bill to pay for the construction of a border wall, as President Trump promised on the campaign trail,” Boyle wrote.
The 2017 spending bill does not appropriate money for the construction of Trump’s border wall but does allocated hundreds of millions of dollars to the Department of Homeland Security to make additions and repairs to existing barriers along the border.
“[Trump] is using the current bill to get his priorities moving” ahead of the 2018 budget, which will include full funding for a border wall, Spicer said.
“So basically you’re just telling the president’s supporters to be satisfied with this existing tough-guy fencing until he’s able to build a wall?” Spiering asked.
“No, what I’m telling anybody is that the president said he’d build a wall, and he’s going to do it with the best technology, and what the DHS under Secretary John Kelly says is the most effective way to keep people out to stop drugs and cartels to stop human trafficking and prevent illegal immigration,” Spicer responded.
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