Mar 13, 2018, 4:19 PM ET

President Trump arrives in California to inspect border wall prototypes


Amid a political earthquake in Washington following the sudden firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, President Trump arrived in California Tuesday where he reviewed several design prototypes for his proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

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"The border wall is truly our first line of defense," Trump said in remarks after a briefing with officials from Customs and Border Patrol and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. "The wall will save hundreds of billions of dollars, many, many times what it's going to cost."

The president's visit is his first to the country's most populous state since taking office, and comes just one week after his Department of Justice announced its plan to sue California over "obstructing federal immigration enforcement efforts."

Ahead of his arrival, the president tweeted that "thousands of dangerous, violent criminal aliens are released" as a result of California's immigration sanctuary policies.

Standing alongside one of the prototypes, Trump said tall walls were needed to keep out “incredible climbers.”

“Getting over the top is easy. These are like professional mountain climbers, these are incredible climbers,” Trump said. “They can't climb some of these walls, some of them they can.”

On Monday California's governor, Democrat Jerry Brown, shared on Twitter a letter he wrote to the president, saying his state "thrives because we welcome immigrants and innovators across from across the globe."

"You see in California we are focusing on bridges, not walls," Brown said. "After you've examined your wall prototypes on the border, I invite you to head north to the Central Valley -- the heart of California. Here in cities like Fresno and Madera more than a dozen bridges and viaducts are being built for the nation's first and only High-Speed Rail line."

Trump responded to the criticism from Brown, accusing him of making residents less safe over sanctuary city policies and sky-high taxes.

“I think the governor's doing a terrible job running the state of California,” Trump said. “I have property in California I will say, I don't speak too much about my property any more. The taxes are way, way out of whack and people are going to start to move pretty soon.”

Construction of the eight wall prototypes in the San Diego area were completed in October of last year. Six companies were chosen to build eight sample walls -- four made of concrete and four of other materials -- according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The White House has called for $18 billion in funding for the wall's construction, but that demand has remained in limbo after the administration sought to pair it with a deal to grant legal status to recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program.

Following the president's tour of the wall designs, he will deliver remarks to troops stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. In the evening, Trump will attend a GOP fundraiser in Beverly Hills.

ABC's Geneva Sands contributed reporting to this story.

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  • WW3

    Ok! Let's put up a BIG 27$ Billion Dollar White Elephant Monstrosity on Our Southern Border while Immigrants throw rafts into the water in Mexico in the Pacific Ocean to get into San Diego & into the Gulf Of Mexico to get to Brownsville or ANYWHERE Up the Pacific Coast or in the Gulf of Mexico! Our Coast Guard is already working Triple Overtime trying to stop boats & Submersibles from carrying in drugs! Can anybody else see the Massive Flaw here?

  • Ken Johnson

    i don't know whether it was Pres Bush or Gov Jerry Brown who determined that CA is the 'largest' state in the union, but it isn't. AK is the 'largest' state in the union, although CA is the most populist, but that isn't what was written...

  • Captin Xate

    I live in CA where last year 142,932 more residents exited to live in other states than arrived. Brown is covering up our illegal immigration problems because he fears Democrats will lose Hispanic votes. Our children will be much safer from felons and drug deals when are borders are made more secure and the Federal Government cracks down on so-called sanctuary cities that harbor illegal felons, child abusers, and others.

  • Cooper

    I hope that whoever "wins" the contract will know that their business will hurt in the long run for accepting this job. It will probably be a money maker for the company, but in the long run, the company, as well as the public who will pay for it (and not Mexico), will all be losers.

  • whitepine

    Walls were a Middle East defense for cities against bow and arrows.

  • JuPMod

    Trump sure do not understand that more than 60% of Californians do not want the Wall along their southern boarder, thus that Trump tweet makes no sense, not to mention the Cali govermment sued to stop the Wall. Not only that, many people do not understand that a majority of farm field workers *legally* cross Cali's southern boarder every day to work the fields.

  • annum004

    If that wall gets as much as one single brick, I'm out of here. I'll give my engineering to either Russia, China or India.

  • CaptnBlynd

    Governor Brown, this nation scours the world for the best immigrants the world can provide. It is the illegal aliens you harbor which we object to. There is a clear and well defined difference, the law. There is no morality to evaluate. There are no rights to consider. There is the law, and the law states they are criminals by the fact of their presence in this nation without permission.
    An interesting thing about the diversity you cite is the fact that it exists in the illegal alien population as well. In my locale, Canadian, Russian and general European illegal aliens account for the bulk. In California it is the white Hispanic. Would it salve your morality if we deported them in equal numbers? Race and diversity are not the issue. Law and security of our sovereign borders is. Legal or illegal. No leader should ever be allowed to opt for the illegal. If the law is so heinous that it must be defied, then change the law. If the law is beyond your purview then obey it.

  • P-dizzle

    After determining where we need a wall (if anywhere) lets evaluate who profits from the wall.

  • Planet Earth

    True story, the only way his babysitters could convince him to go was by telling him he'd be inspecting the new crop of pageant girls this season

  • Bill

    Betting the winning company will be the one Trump has a backdoor interest in.

  • Bill

    Funny how the cost of the wall went from "$40b" to "$18b". Government projects always cost 3 times their original estimate. Therefore the wall will probably cost about $120b.

  • Eteamer

    I offered to send a bucket truck down there to throw stuff over his wall. We have 40ft ladders too.

  • dee6422 .

    My favorite was "undocumented immigrants: They're incredible mountain climbers".. are you f kidding me..this man is just plain stupid!!!

  • Bill

    "The border wall will save taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars". Listen to this crap. Throwing huge numbers around nobody can back up is Trump's style.

  • Hater_Baiter

    Are these prototypes built with American steel

  • kritikosman

    No Pesos, No Wall!

  • Krimson

    Waiting for the meme photo with a Mexican holding a ladder in the background...

  • tatertaut

    Pfft. Put the wall around Mar a loco and make trump pay for it.

  • MAGreenA

    Trump says California is out of control and Jerry Brown is doing a horrible job. Trump doesn't know his rear from a hole in the ground. He has no experience here except picking up porn stars at golf tournaments and having affairs. Go home Trumlp and don't let California's door hit you in the rear on your way out!!