During his single term as president of the United States, Donald Trump made it a point to repeal as many environmental protections as he could and actively ignore the rest so he could boost the failing coal industry and build his wildly ineffective border wall. Now Mother Nature has gotten its revenge. Across parts of the Arizona border, heavy rains and powerful winds from a record-setting monsoon season have literally blown the doors right off Trump's signature immigration policy.
José Manuel Pérez Cantú, the director of the nonprofit Cuenca de Los Ojos, told Earther that at least six gates on the fence near San Bernardino Ranch, located between Douglas, Arizona, and the San Bernardino Wildlife Refuge, which sits right on the U.S.-Mexico border, were felled by rain. According to a report from the Tucson Sentinel, more gates throughout Southern Arizona got knocked off their hinges and pushed open by flood water and mud. The rushing waters have also left debris littered throughout the parts of the wall that have remained standing.
Trump's wall has been no match for the weather the Arizona is currently experiencing. The state is closing in on a record monsoon season, with more than an entire month still to go. Phoenix, the state's capital, is about to set a record for most days with measurable rainfall during monsoon season, making it one of the wettest since 1896. The National Weather Service noted last month that Arizona has already experienced more rain this year than in the two previous monsoon seasons combined. And over in Douglas, near the border with Mexico, the city has already been hit with double its average rainfall for this time of year. The rush of water that seems to have taken the doors off the wall appeared to come last week, when 2.15 inches of rainfall turned into flooding across the border.
Now perhaps Trump simply didn't know that extreme weather might threaten his border wall. After all, these are record-setting rains. Except, of course, basically anyone outside the Trump administration could have told you that this would happen. In fact, many did! Last year, The Washington Post spoke to border officials, agents, and engineers familiar with the border wall project and they almost uniformly warned that flash floods caused by worsening monsoon seasons would damage or knock over gates if proper storm gates were not installed. In the summer of 2020, work on Trump's border wall was halted when sudden flooding damaged a construction site and buried a makeshift road in mud. This is only going to get worse, as experts predict that monsoon season will bring more destructive storms as the planet continues to warm from human-caused climate change.
All of this was entirely predictable. But Trump didn't believe in climate change, so he didn't believe there were any environmental threats to his wall or that there would be any reason to follow the very specific regulations put in place to ensure that construction projects aren't destroyed by weather. The end result was exactly what the science predicted. It's a fitting outcome for Trump, watching his signature policy that played on racism and xenophobia washed out by his signature disregard for science and regulation. But hey, maybe Mexico will pay for the damages?