John Oliver tears down Trump’s Mexican wall idea, and the racism that spawned it

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John Oliver hammered hard on Donald Trump on Sunday’s episode of Last Week Tonight as the comedian tore down Trump’s idea to build a wall on the US-Mexican border. Oliver’s goal in this clip is to actually look closely into the practicality of one of the Republican frontrunner’s talking points, and once he does, it’s clear Trump hasn’t thought anything through. “The border wall is one of the few policy proposals Trump has talked about in detail, so instead of mocking it or dismissing it out of hand, tonight let’s take a serious proposal by a serious presidential candidate seriously,” Oliver says, agreeing to set aside “the potential racism and xenophobia involved here” in order to “focus on the practicality of whether and how it can actually be done.”

The first place to start for Oliver is with the cost, which has gradually raised from $4 billion to $12 billion, but which Oliver has discovered to be at least $25 billion, excluding land and maintenance. And despite Trump’s grandstanding claim that he will get Mexico to pay for it, Oliver proves Trump has no idea what he’s talking about. First, Mexican officials have said, pretty ardently, that they will not pay for it, and second, his plan to use the trade deficit as leverage is “literally not how anything works.”

Oliver doesn’t stop there. He goes on to explain the difficulty of building a border wall, which, as we saw with Bush’s 2006 wall, includes using eminent domain to sue ranchers for their land, endangering species, and digging up Indian burial grounds. On top of that, Oliver shows that a border wall doesn’t do much of anything.

“But let’s face it,” he concludes, “For many people, efficacy is beside the point. This wall is about making us feel safer.” He then proposes a better idea for how we can spend that $25 billion, and it involves waffles for everyone!

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