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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

Trump & Co. put the 'mess' in 'message' when demanding wall money

A bizarre memo adds to confusion on border wall's funding, overall plan.

Central American migrants traveling in a caravan are

Central American migrants traveling in a caravan are taken into custody after crossing the Mexico-U.S. border fence into San Diego County on Saturday. Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Guillermo Arias

Let's consider the "great wall" sales pitch of President Donald Trump, in its full incoherence, based on his most recent statements.

The beautiful southern border wall is already being built, he says. 

But if it isn't completed, U.S. security will be threatened, he says.

But it will be completed because if necessary the military will finish it, he says. 

But with the Pentagon saying it has no plans to finish it, the federal government might have to be partly shut down until Trump gets his way.

But shutdowns under President Barack Obama were bad, because “the president has to lead" and "you have to get everybody in a room" to get a deal, Trump used to say.

But, not to worry, Mexico really is paying for the wall, by accepting a new trade agreement, he says.

But Congress must immediately commit $5 billion from taxpayers for the wall for 2019, not the mere $1.3 billion in money for fencing and other measures Democrats support, he says.

If all these claims add up to too much of a muddle, let's just lighten up and turn to a bizarre memo posted last week on the website of the Department of Homeland Security.

The following is taken word for word from the memo, which was still posted as of late Friday (emphasis added):

"WE ARE BUILDING THE FIRST NEW BORDER WALL IN A DECADE.

DHS is committed to building wall and building wall quickly. We are not replacing short, outdated and ineffective wall with similar wall. Instead, under this President we are building a wall that is 30-feet high.

Prior to President Trump taking office, we have never built wall that high.

Once funding was provided, DHS began construction of border wall exceptionally quickly..."
This prompts questions.

Has DHS gone back to the days of the telegram when you saved money by leaving out words?

Are DHS officials not sold on the English-only movement? 

Is "wall" now considered a substance, like uranium or coal?

Online critics had other ideas.

"The Department of Homeland Security sounded a bit like Cookie Monster or The Incredible Hulk," said Talking Points Memo.

Robert Maguire, research director at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said: "The 'must've sounded better in its original Russian' jokes are old by now. But parts of this literally read like they were written on a troll farm in St. Petersburg."

After several days of this frivolity, the memo was revised into something more grammatical.

Now it's just a matter of waiting and seeing what happens in Washington and at the border — no matter what the word-scrambles sound like.

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