Donald Trump claimed this week that his newest stretch of reinforced border wall was tested by the world’s best mountain climbers to make sure that it could not be scaled.
The world’s best competitive mountain climbers say they have no idea what Trump is talking about.
Trump held a press conference this week to show off the new stretch of wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, bragging to reporters that the stretch of wall in Southern California is impossible to climb — and he knows because it was tested.
“We have, I guess you could say, world-class mountain climbers. We got climbers,” Trump said, via The Daily Beast. “We had 20 mountain climbers. That’s all they do—they love to climb mountains. They can have it. Me, I don’t want to climb mountains. But they’re very good, and some of them were champions. And we gave them different prototypes of walls, and this was the one that was hardest to climb.”
But the report contacted a number of the top competitive mountain climbers, including Jesse Grupper, who won the gold medal in the recent USA Climbing Sport & Speed Open National Championships. Grupper said he never heard anything about climbers being contacted to test out Trump’s wall, and neither did women’s climbing champion Kyra Condie. The White House was not able to provide any evidence that the wall had been tested by competitive climbers, the report added.
As Newsweek noted, Donald Trump has come under increasing pressure for his failure to follow through on his chief campaign promise to build the wall along the border. Trump had repeatedly claimed that he would build a concrete wall that stretched for 1,000 miles along the border, but as of the middle of this year, his administration had yet to build a single mile of new wall.
Newsweek reported that in August, less than 15 percent of the promised border wall had been constructed, with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency saying that 60 miles was completed.
Donald Trump has also come under fire for appearing to go back on his repeated claim that he would force Mexico to pay for the wall. Instead, he had pressed Democrats in Congress to approve funding for the wall, leading to a government shutdown when they held firm against his demands. Trump eventually ended the shutdown and declared a state of emergency at the U.S. border, allowing him to divert funding that had been allocated for military projects and start construction of the wall.