President Donald Trump’s often-touted “border wall” has recently been referred to as “beautiful steel slats” by the president, a “beaded curtain” by California Rep. Nancy Pelosi, “semantics” by White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, and “not a wall” by outgoing White House chief of staff John Kelly. Finally, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on Sunday that the wall was nothing more than a “metaphor” for border security.
Sen. Lindsey Graham: "The wall has become a metaphor for border security" pic.twitter.com/vXrmJpUV52
— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 30, 2018
“The wall has become a metaphor for border security,” Graham spelled out in remarks at the White House. “What we’re talking about is a physical barrier where it makes sense. There’s nothing wrong with a physical barrier along the border where it makes sense.”
“I’m not spending $30 billion on a metaphor,” one Twitter critic responded.
That's cool. I'm not spending $30 billion on a metaphor.
— this is what oligarchy looks like (@CariniGambarini) December 30, 2018
Cool, here’s zero dollars. It’s a metaphor for five billion.
— Guy Endore-Kaiser (@GuyEndoreKaiser) December 30, 2018
Would Mexico pay for a metaphor?
— Pete Giorgianni (@pete_giorgianni) December 30, 2018
Kelly conceded the point to the Los Angeles Times in an interview published Sunday: “To be honest, it’s not a wall.” The White House abandoned the concept of a “solid concrete wall early on in the administration,” he said.
A design of our Steel Slat Barrier which is totally effective while at the same time beautiful! pic.twitter.com/sGltXh0cu9
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 21, 2018
Graham’s use of the term “metaphor” might be a strategy to give the president a way out of his ultimatum to Congress, which was to give him billions of dollars for his wall or he won’t sign a spending bill to reopen the government. A metaphor could be an easier target for a compromise.
But someone should tell Trump a “wall” no longer appears to be in the plans. He just tweeted Sunday that a “ten-foot wall” around Barack and Michelle’s Obama’s home is what he has in mind for the entire southern border.
President and Mrs. Obama built/has a ten foot Wall around their D.C. mansion/compound. I agree, totally necessary for their safety and security. The U.S. needs the same thing, slightly larger version!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 30, 2018
As of early last year, fencing and other barriers lined nearly 700 miles of the 2,000-mile southern border, which Graham pointed out has already cost billions of dollars.
Trump earlier this month declared in a tweet that “our southern border is now secure” — without a wall — “and will remain that way.”
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.