US president suggests building ‘solar wall’ on Mexican border
WASHINGTON – Agence France-PresseU.S. President Donald Trump pitched a new concept to his supporters on June 21 for the wall he intends to erect on the Mexican border: cover it with solar panels - and use the energy to cover construction costs.
“Yes, we will build a wall,” he told a crowd in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “We have to stop the drugs from flowing in.
“I will give you an idea that nobody has heard about yet,” he said. “The southern border. Lots of sun, lots of heat. We are thinking about building a wall as a solar wall. So it creates energy. And pays for itself.”
“And this way, Mexico will have to pay much less money. And that’s good. Right?” quipped the president, whose initial pledge to make Mexico pay for the wall has met with stiff resistance from America’s southern neighbor.
“Think of it, the higher it goes, the more valuable it is,” he enthused.
“Pretty good imagination, right? My idea!”
The U.S. administration put out a call for proposals several months ago for the construction of the border wall, one of which - submitted by a Las Vegas businessman named Tom Gleason - involved using solar panels.
The Trump administration has yet to make serious headway on the president’s emblematic but hugely costly campaign pledge to build a wall on the Mexican border.
Under pressure from Democrats, the U.S. Congress has so far refused to commit funding to the project, agreeing only to finance maintenance on existing parts of the border fence.
The real funding battle will play out starting in October, when 2018 budget negotiations begin in earnest.
Trump basked on June 21 in a Republican victory in a closely-watched election in Georgia, telling cheering supporters at a campaign-style rally in Iowa that “the people love us.”
The congressional election on June 20 had been widely cast as a referendum on the young administration as it battles a swirling Russian scandal and a string of legislative setbacks - and the president seized on the result as a vote of confidence.
“We won last night,” he told the crowd in Cedar Rapids. “All we do is win, win, win!”
Establishment Republican Karen Handel defeated Democratic novice Jon Ossoff after what turned into the most expensive congressional race in history, retaining a seat her camp has held since 1979 -- and calming party jitters about the impact of the president’s troubles on local and national politics.
“The truth is, the people love us,” Trump crowed to the Iowa gathering.
After wins in South Carolina, Kansas and Montana, Trump’s Republicans have now won all four special elections held since his inauguration in January, leaving Democrats demoralized as they seek to snatch control of Congress in next year’s mid-term elections.