Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis hit former President Trump over his pledge to build a border wall at the U.S. southern border and have Mexico pay for it, saying Tuesday “he didn’t utilize the levers of power that he had.”
“I am going to build the border wall, and I remember in 2016 — I went to the rallies with Donald Trump. He said he was going to build the wall and have Mexico pay for it, and that didn’t happen. And why didn’t it happen?” DeSantis said during a CNN town hall.
“Well, one I think he got distracted and he didn’t do it on day one. But two, he didn’t utilize the levers of power that he had,” he continued.
Less than 500 miles of border wall were constructed during the Trump administration, including in areas that had pre-existing barriers, according to U.S. News & World Report. In February 2021, Biden ended the Trump administration’s emergency order that helped push the U.S. southern border wall constriction.
DeSantis said that the construction of the border wall could be raised through remittance fees. The Florida governor noted that most Republicans blamed President Biden for the undocumented immigrants crossing the U.S. southern border, but he directed some of the blame to Trump as well.
“If Trump had built the border wall, it would have been very difficult for Biden to bring in all those many people. That’s why you want a wall. It’s a physical fact of life, that even an open border president would not be able to get around, so I will get the job done,” DeSantis claimed.
“The talk is cheap, and I’m sick of Republicans always using this issue every – every election cycle to try to get donations,” he added.
DeSantis is trailing behind Trump in national and early state polling of the 2024 GOP primary, including in Iowa where he has largely centered his campaign.
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This story originally Appeared on The Hill