US president Donald Trump will be receiving a special gift from Berlin residents on the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall—a 2.7-ton section of the wall itself.
The stunt is squarely directed at Trump’s vow to build a wall along the US-Mexico border, a part of his “zero tolerance” immigration policy.
“We would like to give you one of the last pieces of the failed Berlin Wall to commemorate the United States’ dedication to building a world without walls,” says a message painted on the concrete slab, which is signed by “Citizens of Berlin.”
“Germany is united again and in Berlin only a few scattered pieces remind us that no wall lasts forever.”
The project’s orchestrators, Berlin-based pro-democracy nonprofit Die Offene Gesellschaft, said they informed the White House about the project earlier this week, but have yet to hear whether the gift will be accepted. They plan to hand over the section on the evening of Nov. 9, marking exactly 30 years since the wall fell.
“If the President accepts the letter, it’s his. But gifts to a sitting president always belong to the United States and not to the individual in office. It belongs to the people,” Die Offene Gesellshaft managing director Philip Husemann told Quartz. “So we hope this letter will end up in a public place where all citizens can read it. After all, the main message is a big ‘thank you’ from the Berliners to the United States and its people.”
The White House didn’t immediately respond to a query as to whether they will accept it.
Die Offene Gesellschaft acquired the object from a dealer in Berlin who had a few pieces of the wall in his possession, Huseman said. The group then flew it to New York and trucked it down to Washington. Financed entirely by private donations, Huseman said it cost “in the low five-figure range to purchase the piece of the Wall and transport it overseas.”
Trump is yet to deliver on his signature campaign promise of building a “big, beautiful” border wall, which he swore Mexico would finance. So far, his efforts have cost US taxpayers some $10 billion. Newly built sections of Trump’s border wall have been easily breached by smugglers, however, and the US government is now offering roughly $300 million in contracts to monitor future construction quality.