Email #285: “essentially, it’ll be brand-new”?

Because President Trump failed to express condolences about the devastating earthquake in Mexico earlier this month, Mexico rescinded its offer to aid U.S. victims of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The President later tweeted an excuse: “Spoke to President of Mexico to give condolences on terrible earthquake. Unable to reach for 3 days b/c of his cell phone reception at site.” But, as he demonstrated in his tweet, the President always has access to his Twitter account and could have expressed condolences at any time.

While Mexico always stated openly and directly that it would not fund the building of a border wall despite what the President promised throughout his campaign, the notion of a Mexico-financed wall has become that much more impossible. The President of Mexico told President Trump last month: “my position has been and will continue to be very firm saying that Mexico cannot pay for that wall.” This once again nullified the President’s “100-day action plan to Make America Great Again” call for an Act that “Fully-funds the construction of a wall on our southern border with the full understanding that the country of Mexico will be reimbursing the United States for the full cost of such wall.”

Fortunately, even the President is setting aside such notions now. He said last week: “We’re working on a plan for DACA. The wall will come later.”

This is good news for you since you’ve been so opposed to expanding government spending. You said even before President Trump was elected:

“We are at a crossroads in America. We can make the tough choices and control spending, paving the way for a return to surpluses and ultimately paying down the national debt, or we can allow big spenders to lead us further down the road of chronic deficits and leave our children and grandchildren saddled with debt that is not their own.”

The big spenders now are members of your own party who want Congress to expand the budget even further to include wall construction. As your fellow Virginian Rep. Brat said last week in response to the President: the wall was “what the whole election was about.” And that wall will add $25 million to the deficit—money that Mexico will never reimburse.

Given your career as a staunch deficit hawk, will you oppose any future calls for a deficit-expanding “Great Wall”?

Regardless, the President has already signalled how he intends to manuever out of his current predicament. He said last week: “Just so you understand, we’re renovating massive sections of the wall right now. And essentially, it’ll be brand-new and we’ll be able to use that.”

The President will declare that money already allocated and being spent on border maintainance fulfills his campaign promise to build a wall because it’s “essentially brand-new.” I predict that before the end of the year President Trump will say: “The wall is there. It’s there. It’s built. Look for yourself. I kept my promise. I said there would be a wall and there’s a wall.”

If this move to a moderate position works, he will placate both the left and right–including you by avoiding increased spending. But his opponents on both the far right and far left could still oppose him. Where will you stand?

Author: Chris Gavaler

Chris Gavaler is an associate professor at W&L University, comics editor of Shenandoah, and series editor of Bloomsbury Critical Guides in Comics Studies. He has published two novels: School for Tricksters (SMU 2011) and Pretend I’m Not Here (HarperCollins 2002); and six books of scholarship: On the Origin of Superheroes (Iowa 2015), Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury 2017), Superhero Thought Experiments (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Iowa 2019), Revising Fiction, Fact, and Faith (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Routledge 2020), Creating Comics (with Leigh Ann Beavers, Bloomsbury 2021), and The Comics Form (Bloomsbury forthcoming). His visual work appears in Ilanot Review, North American Review, Aquifer, and other journals.

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