A viral video over the weekend claimed to show Hurricane Hanna's strong winds knocking down a portion of President Donald Trump's southern border wall, but federal authorities say it was misleading. A spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection told The Caller-Times that the video appears to be inauthentic. However, he also confirmed that the agency is looking into it more closely.
The viral video actually had some Americans cheering on Hurricane Hanna this weekend — sarcastically or otherwise. Just under a minute long, it appeared to show strong winds and airborne dust whipping up around a work crew near a border wall. The original post claimed that it was taken in Texas, where the president has long been promising to build a literal wall between the U.S. and Mexico. While the original post has now been deleted, federal authorities are investigating.
"The video circulating on social media appears to be from June 2020 when high winds caused several border wall panels that were pending additional anchoring to fall over at a construction site near Deming, New Mexico," read a statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. "That project is funded by the Department of Defense using 2808 Military Construction Funds, so any questions regarding the incident should be directed to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers."
A spokesman for the agency, Roderick Kise, offered a bit more detail on why he believes the video might be fabricated. While the video shows a dimly lit sky, he pointed out: "the hurricane hit is at nighttime, but looks like it was shot during the day." He also said that the terrain did not match his experience in the lower Rio Grande Valley.
The video was originally posted from the account of Mexican journalist Yadith Valdez, who did not explicitly claim to have recorded the video. Valdez deleted the tweet and has not responded to any request for comment from other news organizations.
The southern border wall remains one of Trump's most infamous promises as a presidential candidate and has yet to be fulfilled. As the 2020 election approaches, the wall is back in the news, with pundits expecting Trump supporters to question why he couldn't follow through on this promise during his first term. Any progress that has been made on constructing a structure at the southern border has been mired in foundational issues, economic shortfalls and extreme resistance.