His supporters, believe it or not, seemed to cheer the plan. Problem is: He didn't come up with it.
One of the main issues with the president's impractical idea of building a border wall between Mexico and the U.S. has always been its massive cost.
While campaigning, then-candidate Trump promised that Mexico was going to pay for the wall. But Mexican officials have flatly denied this notion, saying that this idea is ludicrous and will never come to fruition. Congress also expressed lack of enthusiasm, saying that the money just isn't there. And economists have pointed out that putting up a wall and raising taxes on Mexican imports would only hurt the very Americans who voted for the president.
Now, Trump is saying that adding solar panels to the massive construction would help to pay for it while providing cheap electricity to U.S. residents.
“Pretty good imagination, right? Good?” Trump asked the crowd. “My idea.”
Despite having said the idea was all his, many of the companies submitting ideas for the wall added solar panels to the mix, making this particular claim sound deceptive, to say the least.
“We're thinking of something that's unique, we're talking about the southern border, lots of sun, lots of heat. We're thinking about building the wall as a solar wall, so it creates energy and pays for itself. And this way, Mexico will have to pay much less money, and that's good, right?” he asked the crowd of supporters, even after President Enrique Peña Neto said that was just not going to happen.
“Solar wall, panels, beautiful. I mean actually think of it, the higher it goes the more valuable it is,” he added.
After the Department of Homeland Security invited companies to submit their bids and designs, more than 200 firms volunteered. Among them was Gleason Partners in Las Vegas which proposed a wall made of cement, steel, and fitted with solar panels.
But the idea was far from new when the firm presented its plan to the DHS.
In 2016, an article published in HuffPost and written by an academic and an environmentalist suggested the idea, explaining that the project would make a “significant contribution to the global battle against carbon emissions” while also boosting the economy.
Still, the president used the rally to claim the idea was all his. Not surprising. After all, he was the one who claimed to have come up with the metaphor to “prime the pump,” which dates to the early 19th century.