Ed Henry, Suckered By Trump, Reports That ‘Miles of New Wall’ Are Being Built on Border


On Fox & Friends Thursday morning, Ed Henry was beaming.

The chief national correspondent had landed an interview with President Donald Trump at the border, and he had big news to share.

“We’ve had Democrats on the show saying the president is not telling the truth,” Henry reported. “That’s what they claim when he says and boasts that there’s new wall being built. And I’m here to say: the president is right and they are wrong. And that’s not an opinion, that’s from my reporting with my own two eyes.”

“I was there, there is in fact miles and miles of new wall built, and it’s working,” Henry added.

Henry’s reporting is inaccurate. The Washington Post reported that the work shown off by Trump on Wednesday was “a 24-mile section of replacement barrier.”

Democrats have never denied that renovations of existing border walls are underway. They have said that Trump has not achieved his pledge to build new miles of wall along the border where no previous barrier existed.

“So far under Trump, the U.S. has replaced or reinforced 66 miles of fencing, including 9 miles of new secondary fencing like the kind the president stood in front of on Wednesday,” NBC News also reported. “But Trump’s administration has yet to extend the border wall. There are 654 miles of border wall in the U.S., according to Customs and Border Protection data, the same number of miles that existed at the start of his term.”

In fact, Trump himself admitted the wall was merely a renovation of the existing barrier — the only type of wall action that has funding approved by Congress.

When asked by a reporter on Wednesday where the funding for the wall work was coming from, Trump noted that Congress appropriated just $1.6 billion for renovations of the wall, before explaining: “if they have a little 8-foot wall, 7-foot wall or 10-foot wall, well they just pull down the panel and they walk across. And if we rip that down, I guess you can say that’s renovation.”

Henry was even asked by Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade about Democrats who say there was already existing wall where the new walls have been built. His response was not enlightening:

“This is the beginning of building what the president was talking about, dozens and dozens more miles that are actually going to keep illegal immigrants out.”

In other words, the critics are correct: no new miles of wall… yet.

So where did Henry get his false reporting from? The best indication is that the president of the United States lied to him, Henry believed it, then reported the lie as fact.

During his interview with Trump, Henry asked Trump about Democrats claiming no new miles of wall are being built, before gesturing at the barrier and asking rhetorically: “So what is this?”

“Well this was not here two weeks ago,” Trump said. “So this is all brand-new wall.”

That walls, as many news outlets have reported, is the replacement of existing barriers. That’s what Congress allocated funding for, as Democrats have maintained. Yes, the construction is newly built, but it is not in places where walls had previously not existed — something Trump has falsely claimed before.

When reached for comment on his reporting, Ed Henry provided a lengthy statement to Mediaite insisting that the walls being built are replacing “weak” barriers and that these replacement walls are far more effective than the ones that existed before them. Here’s the statement in full:

Reflexive critics of The Wall should perhaps try to get out of their offices in Manhattan and spend the six hours at the Southern Border interviewing nearly a dozen non-partisan Border Patrol agents, as I did yesterday, and find out what is happening on the ground in real life. Here is what open-minded journalists following actual facts would find: Border Patrol agents who actually work every day in the area where President Trump visited Wednesday say that previously there was a ‘hodge podge’ of fencing and ‘landing areas’ that did not remotely resemble anything close to a wall. Instead people residing in Mexico would routinely approach the area and simply climb over whatever ‘barrier’ was in place and enter America. That “barrier” was so weak that some of those residents of Mexico who made it to the American side would then easily lift their spouses, children, and other family members over the ‘barrier’ so that now multiple Mexican residents made it into America — illegally — in one fell swoop. According to the non-partisan Border Patrol agents I spoke to, not White House officials, it did not come close to being a wall or even a ‘barrier’ under that scenario.

These same non-partisan Border Patrol officials, and my own eyes, confirmed that today there is a far different system in place. More bluntly, there are now two (not one) walls.

The first wall right along the Mexico border is 18 feet high. These non-partisan Border Patrol officials readily acknowledged that this first wall pushed by the President is far from perfect, and that many Mexican residents are able today to use ladders to climb over that first 18-foot wall. In fact, the Border Patrol officials admit that on some days roughly 100-200 Mexican residents make it over that first wall — hardly a major success for the President or the Border Patrol.

However, these non-partisan Border Patrol officials add that zero out of 100-200 people a day make it over the second wall that is 30-foot high. Let me repeat: zero people have made it over the second walk in recent weeks and months. Zero.

So it is possible for reasonable pundits of any partisan persuasion to raise questions about whether the first wall works. But no critic could argue that the second wall is not working since zero people have scaled it so far to enter America illegally.

More directly to your question, non-partisan reporting on the ground on the Southern Border shows that this new system is new ‘wall’ or ‘barrier’ or whatever you want to call it. This is not a reshuffling of ‘old wall’ repackaged as new wall. In the past, there were parts of this area that provided no ‘barrier’ of any kind. People simply climbed over and through it. Today, according to non-partisan Border Patrol officials, there is new wall that zero people have made it through. Zero.

Trump’s campaign promise, it shouldn’t have to be pointed out, was to build new miles of wall on the southern border — not “renovate” existing walls and fences.

Naturally, the Trump campaign’s Twitter account celebrated Henry’s reporting:

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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Aidan McLaughlin is the Editor in Chief of Mediaite. Send tips via email: aidan@mediaite.com. Ask for Signal. Follow him on Twitter: @aidnmclaughlin