"We’re going to build a wall," Donald Trump says at the start of a TV ad from Democratic congressional nominee Pete Gallego of Alpine brought to our attention by Zach Hunter of the National Republican Congressional Committee.
The commercial, launched as Gallego strives to retake the U.S. House seat he lost to Republican Will Hurd of Helotes in 2014, highlight's the Republican presidential nominee's repeated call for a border-length wall with Mexico.
Midway, though, the focus shifts to Hurd who, a female narrator intones, "shares the same bad ideas" as Trump. Next, you see Hurd, talking on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, saying: "A wall absolutely makes sense." Text under the snippet says: "Rep. Hurd Talks Trump’s Idea to Build A Wall."
Hold on there. Far as we can tell, Hurd has stopped far short of saluting Trump’s championed border-long wall.
In a March 2016 interview with the San Antonio Express-News, Hurd said: "Building a wall is the most expensive, least effective way to do border security."
When we asked Gallego’s campaign for factual backup of the idea that Hurd is aboard with Trump on a border-long wall, campaign spokeswoman Lyndsey Rodriguez initially declared by email that Gallego "never said that Rep. Hurd backs Trump’s border wall." Rather, she wrote, "our ad states that they share many of the same bad ideas."
By phone, Rodriguez later said: "What we are saying in the ad is they both support some form of the wall."
Rodriguez also provided a web link to a video excerpt from the MSNBC interview in which Hurd talked about a wall. The 10-second excerpt shows Joe Scarborough, a host of the Morning Joe show, saying: "Why do they all resort to that?"
"Well, you need a wall in some places, all right," Hurd replied. "In heavily populated places, a wall absolutely makes sense."
We took our own look at the full Sept. 8, 2015 Morning Joe interview of Hurd, which was pointed out to us by Hunter.
Headlined "Texas congressman refutes Trump’s wall idea," MSNBC's five-minute video shows Hurd endorsing a border wall in heavily populated places. But he otherwise was clear about a border-long wall not making sense--meaning Gallego’s ad misrepresented Hurd’s declared view.
Our transcript below begins with Scarborough asking Hurd about how much of the border with Mexico is in the 23rd Congressional District he represents:
SCARBOROUGH: "I want to start with Donald Trump’s wall. So (addressing Hurd) you have, what, 800 miles--"
HURD: "Over 800 miles--"
SCARBOROUGH: "--bordering Mexico."
SCARBOROUGH: "So tell me what you think when you hear Donald Trump and other people talking about building a giant wall."
HURD: "You can’t build a wall from sea to shining sea, it just doesn’t work. It’s the most expensive way to do border security and it’s the least effective."
A moment later, Hurd said: "What we need to do is we need to allow the men and women in Border Patrol to adjust their tactics, techniques and procedures as they see fit. You can’t have a one-size-fits-all solution in San Diego. It’s not going to necessarily work in Tucson and you need something different in El Paso."
SCARBOROUGH: "Right, so why is it, though, that Republican candidates always--remember, John McCain turned to the cameras and said, ‘Build the dang wall.’ Why do they all resort to that?"
HURD: "Well, you need a wall in some places, all right. In heavily populated places, a wall absolutely makes sense. A wall is just one more tool in your toolkit in order to solve the problem." Hurd went on to stress his support for closer collaboration with "some of our Mexican partners on the other side." Hurd also said the U.S. needs to make countering the drug cartels and human smuggling efforts a national priority.
In an ad, Gallego accuses Will Hurd of declaring that a border-long U.S.-Mexico wall "absolutely makes sense."
In fact, Hurd has twice spurned Trump’s idea. Still, he told MSNBC a wall makes sense in heavily populated places.
We rate Gallego’s claim Mostly False.
MOSTLY FALSE – The statement contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression. Click here for more on the six PolitiFact ratings and how we select facts to check.
Emails (excerpted), Zach Hunter, regional press secretary, National Republican Congressional Committee, Oct. 4-5, 2016
News story, "A Trump nomination could have congressional impact locally," San Antonio Express-News, March 19, 2016
Email and telephone interview, Lyndsey Rodriguez, communications director, Pete Gallego campaign, Oct. 4-5, 2016
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