John Oliver on Donald Trump's Mexican border wall
John Oliver has previously made fun of Donald Trump’s penis comments and turned his family’s original name into a slogan: #MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain. And on Sunday’s episode of Last Week Tonight, Oliver once again went after Trump. The comedian told EW in February that he is more interested in the political process than the people, so he analyzed Trump’s primary policy proposal: a border wall between Mexico and the U.S.
Oliver first tried to figure out what such a border wall would cost. In speeches, Trump has estimated the project would cost $10 billion, perhaps $4 billion “if you know what you’re doing,” or even as high as $12 billion. However, Oliver cited a Washington Post analysis that found Trump’s wall, if built as he proposed, could cost as much as $25 billion, and that’s even before maintenance.
“So it’s a big dumb thing that only gets more expensive over time,” Oliver said. “It’s like getting a pet walrus. You think it’s stupid now, wait until you learn what a bucket of sea cucumbers costs.”
Trump, of course, has said often in speeches that he’ll make Mexico pay for the wall, a fantasy that has been vigorously denied by Mexican politicians. Oliver even played a clip of former Mexican President Vicente Fox saying, “I’m not gonna pay for that f—ing wall.”
“The best part of that clip is that he even took the extra effort to swear in English,” Oliver said. “This may be my second language, but I want to make absolutely sure you f—ers understand it.”
The closest precedent for Trump’s wall is the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which authorized the construction of 700 miles of fencing along the U.S./Mexican border. However, because the border is mostly along the Rio Grande river, the project ran into all sorts of problems. It required the government to seize the land of private citizens and waive 36 laws (from the Endangered Species Act to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act).
So given all these costs and difficulties, would a wall even be worth it? Oliver pointed out that almost half of all unauthorized migrants entered the country legally and then simply overstayed their visa. A wall wouldn’t stop that.
“It’s like wearing a condom to protect against head lice,” Oliver said. “You could do that, but that’s not really how you keep the thing you’re worried about from happening.”
Then there’s the fact that despite what Trump famously said in his presidential announcement about Mexico sending rapists across the border, the crime rate among immigrants is actually low.
“The crime rates among immigrants once here are relatively tiny digits, which is something Donald Trump should frankly understand, given that he has 10 of them attached to his miniscule wrists,” Oliver said.
Oliver then announced a counter-proposal. If the main reason for a border wall is not efficacy but making people feel warmer and safer, then he suggested the U.S. instead spend that money to buy every citizen a Palmer waffle iron.
“I know what you’re thinking: ‘John, this is a stupid idea,’ but is it? Is it, really?” Oliver said. “Yes, obviously it is. But is it significantly stupider than Donald Trump’s wall? Because this waffle iron plan will cost less, it’ll do nearly as much to keep out immigrants and drugs, it won’t harm our relationship with our third-largest trading partner, if it is racist it’s only toward Belgians, and unlike Trump’s wall, this makes f—ing waffles.”
Watch the full clip above.