On Wednesday night in Pittsburgh, President Donald Trump said this:
“And we’re building a wall on the border of New Mexico and we’re building a wall in Colorado, we’re building a beautiful wall, a big one that really works that you can’t get over, you can’t get under and we’re building a wall in Texas. We’re not building a wall in Kansas but they get the benefit of the walls we just mentioned.”
Then, just after midnight, Trump added this:
“(Kiddingly) We’re building a Wall in Colorado’ (then stated, ‘we’re not building a Wall in Kansas but they get the benefit of the Wall we’re building on the Border’) referred to people in the very packed auditorium, from Colorado & Kansas, getting the benefit of the Border Wall!.”
OK, let’s break this down – step by step.
1. Trump said that he was building a wall in Colorado.
2. He then said, in a tweet, that he was kidding.
3. He also said, in that tweet, that he mentioned Colorado and Kansas because there were people in the audience from those states.
And now for some facts.
1. Colorado is not a border state – as Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy reminded Trump with this helpful map.
2. Watch the video; Trump quite clearly isn’t kidding about a wall in Colorado.
3. This was a speech in Pittsburgh. Is it possible that Trump either had met or just knew that there were people in the audience from Colorado and Kansas? I suppose – but that still doesn’t explain why Trump would say a border wall was being built in Colorado, right? Unless Trump not only met someone from Colorado in the crowd and that person told Trump of a desire for a wall in Colorado. Which seems, uh, unlikely.
Look. It seems very clear what happened here. Trump misspoke. He threw in Colorado in his building-a-big-beautiful-wall riff, forgetting that it isn’t a border state. Which isn’t great! But politicians make mistakes like this. Remember Barack Obama said there were 57 states on the campaign trail in 2008?
But because this is Trump, he is incapable of just saying “yeah, I made a verbal slip. Big whoop.” And so, he makes a ridiculous excuse – I was kidding! There were people in the audience from Colorado! – that turns what is a small story into a much bigger story.
It reminds me of “covfefe.” Remember that one? Shortly after midnight – sounds familiar?!?! – in May 2017, Trump tweeted this: “Despite the negative press covfefe,”
The tweet was later deleted but Trump sent this one the following morning: “Who can figure out the true meaning of ‘covfefe’ ??? Enjoy!” Reporters followed up with then White House press secretary Sean Spicer to find out what Trump meant. “The President and a small group of people know exactly what he meant,” Spicer responded.
WHAT? It seemed then – and seems now – that Trump meant to type “coverage” – as in “negative press coverage” – and just flubbed it. No big deal! People, and this President especially, make lots of typos on Twitter! But, no, because Trump simply cannot be wrong or admit an error – no matter how small! – we had to listen to Spicer tell us that “the President and a small group of people know exactly what he meant.”
Give me a break!
This is, of course, totally ridiculous. But it speaks to a broader truth about Trump and the way in which he runs his administration. If the boss can never be wrong – even when it is a dumb mistake that is totally understandable and totally fixable – and the mechanisms of government are bent to make this impossible reality “true,” you get Colorado’s border wall and “covfefe.”
Which, well, ugh.