Eric Trump’s Falsely Attributed Lie About Cost of Border Wall

Eric Trump’s Falsely Attributed Lie About Cost of Border Wall September 17, 2019

Eric Trump, the dumbest member of the Trump family, put a post on Instagram that makes the ridiculous claim that the Obamacare website alone cost more than Trump’s entire border wall will. And to make things worse, he attributes the claim to comedian Tim Allen, who didn’t say it.

“President Trump’s wall costs less than the Obamacare website. Let that sink in, America.”

— Quote attributed to comedian Tim Allen in an Instagram post by Eric Trump

How about America let it sink in that not a single member of the Trump family cares even a tiny little bit whether anything they say is true or not. This one isn’t even close.

First, let’s deal with Allen. There was a Tim Allen — unrelated to the actor — who on Aug. 25 posted a lengthy diatribe on Facebook that included this line. This Tim Allen describes himself as a jewelry technician who lives in Franklin, Va. But that did not stop thousands of people from distributing his post as coming from the actor…

In 2013, we had looked into the question of the cost of the website. It was a difficult number to pin down, but the most recent government estimate was provided in 2014 in a questions-for-the-record document during the confirmation hearings for Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell. “It is my understanding that as of February 28, 2014, CMS has obligated a total of approximately $834 million on Marketplace-related IT contracts and interagency agreements,” she said.

But Bloomberg News in 2014 said the cost actually exceeded $2 billion because the government estimate was limited to spending on computer systems whereas Bloomberg included all contracts that could be associated with the website project.

But even if one accepts $2 billion, that still is dwarfed by the spending on Trump’s border barrier. (As we have often noted, it’s bollard fencing, not a wall.) Even during the 2016 campaign, when Trump lowballed the cost of the barrier as under $8 billion — and claimed Mexico would pay for it — the website would have cost much less.

So far, Congress has appropriated $1.6 billion for the barrier, while Trump has tapped an additional $6.1 billion from previously approved military construction projects under a rarely used emergency authority. Trump has sought an additional $8.6 billion in funds in the next fiscal year, though lawmakers are balking at the request. If completed, the actual cost of the barrier is unknown, though estimates of more than $20 billion — or higher — have circulated.

So even the highest estimates of the cost of the website is $2 billion, while even the lowest estimate of the cost of the wall, from his father himself, is four times that much. So close. Oh so close. Will there be a retraction or admission that he’s wrong coming? You must be joking. His last name is Trump, after all.

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