New Year, same America. With a government shutdown, gridlocked negotiations and a focus on Trump’s Wall dominating the news media, some may say not much has changed. However, it prompted us to ask why Trump is pushing this hard for this policy. Is it to defend the country against immigration, or is it really due to its importance to the Comms strategy of ‘Brand Trump’?
It is clear that of all Trumps’ campaign promises, the Wall is the one he is most determined to see through. This could be because of Trump’s strong anti-immigration stance. However, if Trump’s problem is immigration from Mexico, then he himself admits the Wall will not likely solve this by itself. The Wall will have to cover a vast border, and current border patrol is going to be potentially understaffed and definitely undertrained. Furthermore, images have been leaked showing the ‘Steel Slat’ design, one potential under consideration by the President, being cut by a standard domestic saw. Trump’s response: to say that even concrete walls can be dissolved by Acid, so fundamentally all structures are penetrable. Walls are, by nature a flawed defence mechanism – as well as going through it, you can dig under it, and you can catapult over it.
So, if even Trump sees the Wall is not the solution to his immigration problem, then why is he so set on building it? In his pre-presidential days, the most profitable part of his business was his Brand – whether on buildings, steaks or a university, Trump was more than happy to put his name on them. He knows his brand is his most powerful asset. And just as the name and the hair were important parts of the brand for Trump the businessman, the Wall is important for Trump the President, and it forms a key part of his Populist, personality-based communications strategy.