San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and President Donald Trump are sharing some very different accounts of their White House meeting earlier this week.
During a Wednesday appearance on Fox News, President Trump said that Mayor Faulconer thanked him for border wall construction in San Diego.
"[Faulconer] was just up in my office, great guy. He came up to thank me for having done the wall because it's made such a difference. He said, it's like day and night. He said people were flowing across and now nobody can come in,” Trump said.
But on Friday Mayor Faulconer’s office said Faulconer said nothing of the sort. His spokesperson said Faulconer talked to the president about a new trade deal between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada and how he was focused on getting it approved by congress.
Faulconer’s office said the two also discussed homelessness, and sewage contamination flowing into the United States from Mexico.
Much of San Diego’s border with Mexico has been lined with a wall for decades. A border wall replacement project recently upgraded 14 miles of the wall, making it taller and easier to see through in some places.
“There isn't any new wall per se, just simply replacement wall so when President Trump claims there’s a new border wall here he’s simply using that to try and sway his followers,” said Pedro Rios, Director of American Friends Service Committee.
Faulconer’s office reaffirmed Friday that the mayor does not support a border wall. Mayor Faulconer has regularly stayed away from painting the border as a dangerous place, and has emphasized the importance of cross-border business.
“It's important for us to put this into context with the electoral campaign. He's trying to make his followers believe that he is making good on his promises during his campaign for presidency,” Rios said.
The head of the local Border Patrol union told NBC 7 he thinks the president and mayor should be focusing their efforts on getting more funding for the border.
National Border Patrol Council Vice President Joshua Wilson said agents are overwhelmed and overworked because of the large amount of migrants now under their care. The head of Border Patrol is also asking the Department of Homeland Security for more funding to take on the humanitarian crisis at the border.
“This like no other crisis that I have seen in my career when it comes to the humanitarian side of the house. It is certainly draining on my men and women,” he said.