Today, President Donald Trump inspected border wall prototypes near San Diego, in his first trip in office to California. The president will move on to Los Angeles later in the afternoon for a fundraiser in Beverly Hills.
Welcome to San Diego, President Trump. Here you'll find a city that embraces its cross-border economy because free trade works. pic.twitter.com/SfUjQq58N0— Kevin Faulconer (@Kevin_Faulconer) March 13, 2018
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen joined Trump to inspect the eight recently constructed prototypes for the wall to "pick the right one."
"For the people that say no wall, if you didn't have walls over here, you wouldn't even have a country,” Trump told reporters. "If you don't have a wall system, we're not going to have a country. There's a lot of problems in Mexico."
President Trump has arrived and is speaking with folks in front of the border wall prototypes. pic.twitter.com/DKdEZhTFBR— Sarah Parvini 🦅 (سارا) (@sarahparvini) March 13, 2018
Trump also said he would prefer a wall with a see-through component: "You could be two feet away from a criminal cartel and you don’t know they’re there."
"The state of California is begging us to build walls in certain areas," Trump said, adding that he has a "terrific" relationship with the Mexican president, calling him a "very good negotiator."
"We'll see what happens, but we obviously have to have a couple of disagreements before we get there," Trump said. Trump also had words for California's governor,
Via FOX 10 Phoenix. Additional coverage via The Washington Post, Defense News, and NBC:
The president made these comments about the see-through wall:
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I do have a preference. The problem is, you have to have see-through. You have to know what's on the other side of the wall. And, I mean, a preference is something like that.
The problem is, you don't know what's on the other side of the wall. And if you don't know what's on -- I mean, you could be two feet away from a criminal cartel and you don't even know they're there.
Now we have equipment to take care of that. Extra equipment, et cetera. But if you're on that side of the wall, that's the hardest wall to scale. We've got a lot of assets. The problem is, tell them. What do you think about the importance of see-through?
(UNKNOWN BORDER PATROL AGENT): When I have a see-through wall, sir, I know what's approaching the border before it approaches. We have great partners in Mexico, with the law enforcement on that side. I can call them for assistance. I don't get the opportunity to get ahead of a threat if I can't see it approaching.
TRUMP: And what's the danger of not having the see-through?
(UNKNOWN BORDER PATROL AGENT): When -- the steel metal fence behind us, we learned from that, in fact. In the '90s, we went in and actually cut in ports where we could see on the south side.
We found that -- that smugglers were using the fence to hide behind. And they were either rocking our agents, or they would acquire large groups of people or narcotics, and then they would just rush across the border quicker.
TRUMP: Now, if you just have a pure fence, now, that's a fence. A very sturdy fence. But coming up, I notice -- the first thing I notice. Look how many holes are in that fence.
Now they fixed the holes, but it doesn't look very good. They just patch it with more fence. If you take a look at the fence -- and it's a very powerful fence -- not doing the trick. Because they cut holes in it, and then they're patching holes all the time.
I'm just looking. You have hundreds of holes cut in and patched. So the fence is not strong enough. It's not the right idea. But for those people, if you don't have a wall system, then we're going to have -- we're not going to have a country.
There's a lot of problems in Mexico. They have a lot of problems over there. And they have the cartels. And the cartels, we're fighting the cartels. And we're fighting them hard. Nobody ever fought them like we fought them. I mean, we fight them hard.
But the fact is, if you don't have a wall system, it would be bedlam, I imagine.