Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

ONE DAY left in this Mid-Year Campaign. This is our hour of need.
If you value independent journalism, please support Common Dreams.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting in the White House on October 21, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

With 700+ Coronavirus Cases in US and 7 in Mexico, Trump Rebuked for Again Touting Border Wall as Solution

"Perhaps the wall is to protect Mexico?"

Julia Conley

President Donald Trump was condemned Tuesday for suggesting that a wall along the southern U.S. border would in any way protect Americans from the coronavirus outbreak which has spread to more than 100 countries, infecting more than 750 people in the United States so far as testing continues to lag.

In response to a tweet posted by right-wing commentator Charlie Kirk saying "the U.S. stands a chance if we can control of our borders" and referring to the coronavirus, officially called COVID-19, as the "China virus," the president tweeted, "we need the Wall more than ever!"

"Walls are not going to keep [the virus] out," Dr. Celine Gounder, a clinical professor of infectious diseases at New York University, told HuffPost last month when the president first floated the idea of closing the southern border. "There's no point with approaching this as a borders issue. It's here."

A number of critics pointed out that the U.S. currently has far more cases of COVID-19 than Mexico, which Trump has since 2015 said must be separated from the U.S. by a wall in order to stop undocumented immigrants from entering the country.

At least 755 people in the U.S. had been diagnosed with the coronavirus as of Tuesday, while only seven cases of the respiratory illness have been confirmed in Mexico.

Trump's tweet came days after former Obama White House national security official Colin Kahl wrote on social media that Trump should be expected "to pivot to exploiting fears about the virus to feed his nativist and protectionist case for walls, travel bans, tariffs, etc."

The president's tweet demonstrated that Trump is "more concerned with his re-election" than public health, tweeted former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance.

As Trump claimed closing borders is the key to protecting the U.S., where public health officials say the coronavirus is now infecting people via "community spread" rather than from people entering the country, the administration was under fire for overseeing a response to the outbreak in which the slow rate of testing Americans for the coronavirus has become "a debilitating weakness" in the effort to determine how far the disease has spread so officials can work to halt further transmission.

Fewer than 4,400 people in the U.S. had been tested for the coronavirus as of Monday, according to DefenseOne.

"By this point in its outbreak, South Korea had tested more than 100,000 people for the disease, and it was testing roughly 15,000 people every day," wrote Robinson Meyer. "The United Kingdom, where three people have died of COVID-19, has already tested more than 24,900 people."

"Jesus Christ, America, what are you doing?" tweeted Business Insider correspondent Rob Price of a graphic showing the CDC is now administering only five tests per one million people.

Officials in the U.K. and the Netherlands administered about 350 coronavirus tests per one million people. The countries have reported five and four deaths from the disease, respectively, while at least 26 people have now died in the U.S. from COVID-19.

Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist at Harvard, told DefenseOne that not enough people are being tested for COVID-19 for health officials to accurately report that they know how many "new cases" there are in the United States.

"They should refer to them as 'newly discovered cases,' in order to remove the impression that the number of cases reported has any bearing on the actual number," Lipsitch told the outlet.

"Perhaps the wall is to protect Mexico?" tweeted Democratic activist Travis Akers.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just ONE DAY left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

As US Rolls Back Reproductive Rights, Sierra Leone Moves to Decriminalize Abortion

"I'm hopeful today's announcement gives activists in the U.S., and especially Black women given the shared history, a restored faith that change is possible and progress can be made."

Brett Wilkins ·

'Indefensible': Outrage as New Reporting Shines Light on Biden Deal With McConnell

The president has reportedly agreed to nominate an anti-abortion Republican to a lifetime judgeship. In exchange, McConnell has vowed to stop blocking two Biden picks for term-limited U.S. attorney posts.

Jake Johnson ·

Assange Makes Final Appeal Against US Extradition

"If Julian Assange is not free, neither are we," said a protester at a Friday demonstration against the WikiLeaks founder's impending transfer. "None of us is free."

Brett Wilkins ·

'Payoff for 40 Years of Dark Money': Supreme Court Delivers for Corporate America

"It was the conservative court's larger agenda to gut the regulatory state and decimate executive powers to protect Americans' health and safety," warned one expert.

Jake Johnson ·

NARAL Pro-Choice Endorses Fetterman—Who Vows to End Senate Filibuster to Protect Abortion Rights

"We know we can count on him to boldly fight for abortion rights and access," said the head of one of the nation's largest reproductive rights advocacy groups.

Jon Queally ·

Common Dreams Logo