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Trump tweet implies photos are from ‘start’ of border wall, but they’re not

U.S. President Donald Trump inspects the border wall prototypes during his trip to California on March 13 in San Diego. Trump tweeted about the start of a wall on the southern border but the photos were actually of repairs that happened more than a month ago. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

At least some of the photos that President Donald Trump used to illustrate a tweet about the start of a wall on the border between the United States and Mexico were actually of repairs that happened more than a month ago to existing portions of border fence that were built in the 1990s.

“Great briefing this afternoon on the start of our Southern Border WALL!” President Trump tweeted on Wednesday afternoon.

Two of those same images appeared in a Feb. 23 tweet from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol in San Diego: “A #BorderWall replacement project has begun near downtown #Calexico within #USBP #ElCentro Sector. 2.25 miles of old landing mat wall will be replaced with 30-foot high bollard style.”

“Bollard style” involves steel beams filled with concrete and rebar, with space between them for visibility.

At least three other photos from Trump’s tweet seem to be from the same project, although they were not in the original Customs and Border Patrol tweet. The source of the remaining two images from Trump's tweet is unclear.

According to a Customs and Border Patrol news release on Feb. 21:

“The El Centro Sector wall replacement is one of Border Patrol’s highest priority projects. Wall in this area was built in the 1990s out of recycled scraps of metal and old landing mat. Although the existing wall has proven effective at deterring unlawful cross border activity, smuggling organizations damaged and breached this outdated version of a border wall several hundred times during the last two years, resulting in costly repairs.”

While Trump was hoping for $25 billion from Congress to start construction on a wall, he ended up with only $1.2 billion – only $641 million of which is designated to pay for the building of 33 miles of fence. The law also specifies that the wall cannot be made out of concrete.

Trump is rumored to be privately suggesting that the military could pay for the wall through its budget, and a tweet he sent out on Sunday seemed to confirm this.

“Because of the $700 & $716 Billion Dollars gotten to rebuild our Military, many jobs are created and our Military is again rich. Building a great Border Wall, with drugs (poison) and enemy combatants pouring into our Country, is all about National Defense. Build WALL through M!” the tweet read.

However, the reallocation of military funds like that would require Congressional approval from a Congress that did not give him funding for the wall in the first place.

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