Trump talks about building a solar southern wall

Since President Trump first promised to build a wall on the southern border, one of several sticking points has been who would foot the bill. But on Wednesday, the president said he may have found a way to lower the cost: solar panels.

“Think of it—the higher it goes, the more valuable it is,” the president said. “It’s pretty good imagination right? My idea.”

At a campaign-style rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a state with a Republican governor investing heavily in alternative energy, the president pitched his green energy idea to an enthusiastic supporters.

“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,” he said.  

The president said the solar wall would generate enough energy over time to “pay for itself.” To help cover the Homeland Security Department’s estimated cost of $21 billion, photo-voltaic cells could bring the cost down. 

“You’re the first group I told that to,” the president chimed. “We’re working it out. Let’s see.” 

“Build that wall” chants echoed throughout the Iowa rally as the president promised to keep his famous campaign pledge to build the wall, which he said “we’ve already started planning.” The president asked his supporters what they thought about the solar idea.  But his comment about letting Mexico off the hook was not welcomed by the audience.  

“This way, Mexico will have to pay much less money and that’s good. Right?” he asked. In response, boos and hisses could be heard from the crowd.

Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto has repeatedly refused to pay for the wall, and the president’s comments may have sounded like a pivot on the wall’s financing. Still, the idea of attaching solar panels is not entirely new. 

In April, when Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly testified before Congress about the wall, he mentioned solar panels.

Despite Mr. Trump’s claim that the solar wall was his idea,…

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