When I first heard that Donald Trump drew a connection between the 9/11 attacks and his dream of building a giant wall along the U.S./Mexico border, I thought he might have made some kind of clumsy argument about the dangers of foreigners entering the country.
As it turns out, the connection was more ham-handed.
In the president's interview with The Hill, he was asked about whether he'll ever follow through on his plan. Trump initially responded by saying he's already "started an 80-mile stretch" of the wall, which is a lie. The president quickly added that the Senate's filibuster rule has been a hindrance, which also isn't true -- Trump's immigration policy received just 39 votes in the Republican-led Senate, making the 60-vote threshold irrelevant.
Eventually, he made a curious 9/11 connection.
President Donald Trump said he found inspiration for the U.S.-Mexico border wall after visiting the Flight 93 National Memorial this month for a ceremony commemorating the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.The memorial marks the site where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in an open field after 40 passengers and crew members tried to overtake terrorists who had hijacked the plane."They built this gorgeous wall where the plane went down in Pennsylvania. Shanksville. And I was there. I made the speech. And it's sort of beautiful, what they did is incredible," Trump told Hill.TV in an interview on Tuesday. "They have a series of walls, I'm saying, 'It's like perfect.' So, so, we are pushing very hard."
The larger question at this point is just how aggressively the president intends to "push," especially with a shutdown deadline looming.
I imagine many readers instinctively roll their eyes the moment they see the word "shutdown," but the fact remains that in 10 days, the federal government will have exhausted current spending. It hasn't generated a lot of headlines, but congressional Republicans and Democrats have quietly put together a package that will keep the government open until early December -- a month after the midterm elections -- and it's well on its way to clearing Capitol Hill.
Indeed, the bill, which includes no money for a border wall, passed the Senate this week on a 93-to-7 vote. Lawmakers appeared confident that the president will have no choice but to simply accept it.
What Trump will do if the spending package reaches his desk, however, remains something of a mystery. The president has already threatened to shut down the government several times in recent weeks over the lack of funding for a border wall, and this morning, Trump called the bipartisan bill "ridiculous."
The shutdown deadline is a week from Sunday. Watch this space.