President Trump was the surprise special guest at an impromptu press briefing at the White House on Thursday, where he held forth about the new Democrat-led House and the need for a border wall because “walls work.”
Trump began by congratulating new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and expressed optimism about working with Democrats on infrastructure and other legislation.
“Hopefully, we’re gonna have a lot of things that we can get done together,” Trump said, adding that he thinks “it’s actually going to work out.”
He told reporters that in the past week he has received an outpouring of support from the American people regarding the border wall.
“I have never had anything like it in terms of calls coming in, in terms of people writing in and tweeting, and doing whatever they have to do,” the president said with confidence. “I’ve never had this much support. And we’ve done some things that, as you know, have been very popular.”
Trump then invited National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) President Brandon Judd to speak.
Judd, a Border Patrol agent for 20 years, made a point of telling the reporters that physical barriers do indeed work.
“You hear a lot of talk that there are experts that say that walls don’t work. I promise you that if you interview Border Patrol agents, they will tell you that walls work,” Judd said.
He explained that he worked in Naco, Ariz., for ten years, where there were no barriers and where “immigration and drug smuggling was absolutely out of control.”
Judd explained that after they built barriers, illegal immigration “dropped exponentially.”
“Anywhere that you look where we have built walls they have worked. They have been an absolute necessity for Border Patrol agents in securing the border,” Judd continued. “We need those physical barriers and we appreciate President Trump and all of his efforts in getting us those physical barriers.”
“There’s also a lot of talk on this shutdown that federal employees do not agree with the shutdown,” he added. “I will tell you, that’s not true.”
Judd introduced NBPC Vice President Art del Cueto to brief reporters on how the shutdown has affected the morale of Border Patrol agents.
“We are all affected by this shutdown,” del Cueto said. “We have skin in the game. However, it comes down to border security and we’re extremely grateful to President Trump and we fully support what he is doing to take care of our nation’s borders — to take care of the future of the United States,” del Cueto stated.
Another NBCC official, Hector Garza, spoke about how known criminals and gang members are flowing across the border on “a daily basis.”
“We’re talking about murderers, rapists, people that commit very serious crimes in this country. ICE has been doing an amazing job in deporting a lot of these people back to their countries. Unfortunately, once we deport these people, these people will not stay in their country. These criminal aliens that have been released from jail that have been deported will come right back into the United States,” he explained.
Garza said a physical barrier would help them put a stop to that.
Returning to the podium, President Trump said that Border Patrol have made it clear to him that “without a wall… or strong form of barrier,” we cannot have a secure border. “Without a wall, you cannot have border security. It won’t work,” Trump said.
The president thanked the Border Patrol officials in attendance and left the room without taking any questions.