President Donald Trump tried to make the case for his border wall on Wednesday by arguing that walls — in general — have been successful since medieval times and that the Israeli Prime Minister has given his own walls an arbitrary 99.9% success rate.
“They say it’s a medieval solution, a wall. It’s true. It’s medieval because it worked then and it works even better now,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office during a bill-signing event.
“Israel put up a wall. It’s 99.9% successful, according to Bibi Netanyahu. He came into my office a couple of months ago and he said what’s with the wall? We put up a wall — it’s 99.9% successful. 99.9%,” he continued. “I said, do you mind if I use that number? Because then they’ll backtrack, they’ll say actually it’s only 99%. … They put up a wall and they don’t have a problem with anything. And we have to do the same.”
As for the Israeli barrier against Palestinian territories, the Washington Post calls that statistic a “fantasy,” citing a 2016 New York Times report detailing a wide-ranging smuggling industry that operates easily across the barrier.