In his first public appearance since a violent mob of his supporters breached the U.S. Capitol, President Donald Trump on Tuesday highlighted one of his most controversial and visible accomplishments: wall construction along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Barely a week before the end of his presidency, Trump underscored his administration’s hardline stance against illegal immigration, signing a plaque placed on a section of border wall near Alamo, Texas.
“In every region that we’ve built the wall, illegal crossings and drug smuggling have plummeted,” Trump said of the initiative Democrats fiercely opposed as a waste of money and a blight on the nation.
The Trump administration has overseen the construction of roughly 724 kilometers of wall along the U.S.-Mexico border that stretches more than 3,000 kilometers. Much of the construction replaced existing smaller barriers along the border.
In his remarks alongside the wall, Trump did not take responsibility for violence at the Capitol last week, but did urge “peace and calm" and said now is a "time for law and a time for order.”
The president blasted Democrat-led efforts to remove him from office, saying, “It’s causing tremendous anger and division and pain far greater than most people will ever understand, which is very dangerous for the USA, especially at this very tender time.”
Trump, who in a previous video told the violent mob of his supporters “we love you, you’re very special,” admitted no responsibility for the violence and did not answer questions from reporters.
The visit came a day after Trump’s acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf abruptly resigned.
Ahead of Trump’s trip to Alamo, the Southern Poverty Law Center called for the visit to be canceled, saying it would “only further the harm and beget more violence.”