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Former presidents deny praising Trump's wall

Living former presidents have denied President Donald Trump's claim that they had commended him for his commitment to build a wall along the nation's southern border. CNN's Erin Burnett examines the growing scrutiny of Trump's plan for the border.

Posted: Jan 8, 2019 8:54 PM
Updated: Jan 8, 2019 9:22 PM

President Donald Trump said Friday that a former president had commended him for his commitment to securing funds to build a wall along the nation's southern border.

However, none of the four living former presidents have said they told Trump they wished they had built the wall.

In a news conference Friday, Trump suggested that at least one prior commander in chief had agreed with his desire to build a wall.

"This should have been done by all of the presidents that preceded me," Trump said. "And they all know it. Some of them have told me that we should have done it."

But his predecessors have denied such a conversation.

Jimmy Carter, the oldest living former president, said Monday that it wasn't him.

"I have not discussed the border wall with President Trump, and do not support him on the issue," Carter said in a statement tweeted by The Carter Center on Monday afternoon.

Freddy Ford, a spokesman for former President George W. Bush, told CNN that "they haven't discussed this."

Former President Bill Clinton spokesman Angel Urena said Clinton "never said that," adding that "they've not talked since inauguration."

A spokesman for Trump's immediate predecessor, Barack Obama, did not respond directly to a CNN request for comment, instead passing along comments Obama made as president in which he said a wall isn't necessary.

"A nation ringed by walls would only imprison itself," Obama told the assembled representatives of the UN's member states in September 2016.

In a commencement address at Rutgers University in May 2016, Obama blasted the idea and said a wall was antithetical to America's history of attracting and growing from "strivers."

"Suggesting that we can build an endless wall along our borders, and blame our challenges on immigrants -- that doesn't just run counter to our history as the world's melting pot; it contradicts the evidence that our growth and our innovation and our dynamism has always been spurred by our ability to attract strivers from every corner of the globe," he said to a cheering crowd.

Obama's representatives didn't respond to CNN last week when asked if he was the former president who had spoken with Trump and praised the wall. CNN reached out to Obama's representatives again Monday.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 15229

Reported Deaths: 723
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds99925
Lauderdale73561
Madison72023
Scott65012
Neshoba63038
Jones59825
Forrest55338
DeSoto5337
Rankin4217
Leake42112
Holmes39728
Copiah3104
Jackson30513
Attala29216
Yazoo2734
Newton2714
Leflore25831
Harrison2577
Lincoln25628
Monroe25525
Lamar2355
Oktibbeha23512
Lowndes2119
Pearl River20931
Pike20211
Adams19615
Noxubee1856
Wayne1771
Warren1719
Washington1687
Covington1652
Bolivar16011
Jasper1574
Smith15011
Lee1496
Kemper14411
Clarke14318
Chickasaw13312
Lafayette1314
Coahoma1214
Carroll11711
Marion1159
Clay1124
Winston1121
Claiborne1112
Lawrence1021
Simpson1010
Yalobusha905
Hancock9011
Tate891
Grenada893
Wilkinson889
Itawamba877
Union835
Marshall833
Montgomery831
Sunflower813
Jefferson Davis772
Tippah7311
Panola703
Webster691
Calhoun644
Humphreys607
Amite601
Walthall550
Tunica543
Prentiss523
Perry503
Choctaw432
Jefferson421
Tishomingo320
Pontotoc323
Stone300
Franklin282
Tallahatchie271
Quitman260
George251
Alcorn171
Benton150
Greene121
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 17359

Reported Deaths: 618
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2191115
Jefferson1780102
Montgomery163238
Tuscaloosa73814
Marshall6879
Franklin5457
Lee54033
Shelby50319
Tallapoosa42364
Butler40217
Chambers35325
Walker3442
Elmore3398
Madison3274
Baldwin2839
Dallas2603
Morgan2511
Etowah24811
DeKalb2433
Lowndes23812
Coffee2291
Sumter2206
Autauga2164
Houston2094
Bullock2034
Pike1980
Colbert1782
Russell1670
Marengo1636
Lauderdale1612
Hale1598
Calhoun1543
Choctaw1518
Barbour1501
Wilcox1447
Clarke1422
Cullman1260
Randolph1257
Marion12111
St. Clair1181
Pickens1114
Dale1100
Talladega1093
Chilton1001
Limestone940
Greene944
Winston880
Covington771
Jackson772
Crenshaw763
Macon754
Henry742
Bibb721
Washington686
Blount611
Escambia573
Lawrence480
Geneva400
Conecuh391
Coosa381
Monroe372
Perry370
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar230
Fayette150
Cleburne141
Unassigned00
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