If there’s a wall, there’s still a way — that’s what President Trump told a group of Wagner College grads back in 2004.
The old comments, made part of a commencement speech at the Staten Island school more than a decade ago, were resurfaced by the Daily Show well into the third week of the partial government shutdown. Trump has so far refused to compromise on his requested $5.7 billion to fund a wall between the United States and Mexico, resulting in a budgetary stalemate with Democratic lawmakers.
And while the President now believes a wall will be enough to prevent immigrants from crossing into the country, he seemed to feel a bit differently 15 years ago.
“I’ll tell you the second most important thing after love what you do, it is to never ever give up. Don’t give up,” the former real estate mogul said. “Don’t allow it to happen. If there’s a concrete wall in front of you go through it, go over it, go around it. But get to the other side of that wall.”
The President on Wednesday walked out of a meeting with Democratic leaders after they again denied him funding for his proposed border wall. In recent months, Trump has walked back his calls for a concrete wall and is now pushing for a “steel barrier” instead.
“Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time,” he tweeted Wednesday evening.
“I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or steel barrier? Nancy said, . I said bye-bye. Nothing else.”
Since Trump was elected President, Wagner students and staff have unsuccessfully petitioned the college to revoke his honorary degree. A change.org campaign dedicated to their efforts started last year has nearly 2,000 signatures.
“Mr. Trump’s public actions and statements stand starkly against what his honorary degree represents,” alumni wrote in an open letter to the administration. “While he holds this undeserved honor, our own degrees – and the academic and personal work we accomplished – are demeaned.”
Trump, sporting a giant grin and an emerald green graduation gown, can be seen accepting his honorary degree in the recently unearthed clip of his 2004 speech.
“I’ve always wanted to be known as a doctor,” he says before pointing at his then-future wife. “Melania, from now on you will address me as Dr. Trump.”