Trump Once Told Students to Never Let a Wall Get in Their Way

“If there’s a concrete wall in front of you, go through it.”

Long before President Donald Trump threatened to “maybe, definitely” declare a national emergency over his $5 billion demands for funds to build a border wall, the former real estate magnate once offered a very different—if not inspirational—message about concrete walls.

“I’ll tell you, to me, the second most important thing after love what you do is never, ever give up,” Trump said during a 2004 commencement speech at Wagner College in Staten Island. “Don’t give up. Don’t allow it to happen.”

“If there’s a concrete wall in front of you, go through it,” he continued. “Go over it. Go around it. But get to the other side of that wall.”

The Daily Show‘s Trevor Noah unearthed the 2004 speech during a segment that aired Wednesday, the 18th day of a partial government shutdown that has left nearly 800,000 federal workers furloughed or working without pay.

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot. That's what Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein tackles in her annual December column—"Billionaires Are Not the Answer"—about the state of journalism and our plans for the year ahead.

We can't afford to let independent reporting depend on the goodwill of the superrich: Please help Mother Jones build an alternative to oligarchy that is funded by and answerable to its readers. Please join us with a tax-deductible, year-end donation so we can keep going after the big stories without fear, favor, or false equivalency.

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot.

Please read our annual column about the state of journalism and Mother Jones' plans for the year ahead, and help us build an alternative to oligarchy by supporting our people-powered journalism with a year-end gift today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.