By Adam Carslon, People
Posted January 4th 2018
But as neighbors and photographs of the property confirm, no such imposing barrier actually exists.
“The house is not obscured in any way from the street,” a next-door neighbor tells PEOPLE, disputing the image conjured by a Trump tweet on Sunday. As the Washington Post reports, “the front steps [of the Obama house] are open to the sidewalk.”
The neighbor explains that the Obamas did add “a couple of feet of retaining wall in front to what was already there.”
They also installed black mesh along the back yard’s retaining wall, for privacy, the neighbor says. (A spokeswoman for the Obamas was not immediately available to comment.)
Fencing was built in the front and back of the home for security, as was a guard booth, according to the Post.
“There’s a fence that goes along the front of the house, but it’s the same as the other neighbors have,” a neighbor told the paper. “It’s tastefully done.”
Writing on Twitter on Sunday, Trump told a different story.
“President and Mrs. Obama built/has a ten foot Wall around their D.C. mansion/compound,” he wrote then. “I agree, totally necessary for their safety and security. The U.S. needs the same thing, slightly larger version!”
The Obamas had previously been renting their 8,200-square-foot, eight-bedroom mansion in D.C. but purchased it in 2017. It’s not far from Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who are both senior aides in the White House.
The president’s vow to erect a wall at the southern border was a central promise of his campaign, though his descriptions of it have changed and contradicted over time.
On Dec. 18, Trump tweeted that the proposed wall would be made of “artistically designed steel slats” and not concrete.
But days later, following comments by his former chief of staff that his administration had long moved on from the idea of using concrete, Trump tweeted: “An all concrete Wall was NEVER ABANDONED, as has been reported by the media. Some areas will be all concrete but the experts at Border Patrol prefer a Wall that is see through.”
Trump has alternately described the project as a wall, a fence and a barrier. Regardless, the president has been unable to receive Congressional funding.
With an incoming Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, Trump turned the stalemate into a standoff, refusing to sign any spending bill that does not include requisite money for the wall.