Donald Trump is truly desperate to build the wall. The problem is, he doesn’t really have many good ideas about how to do that, so he’s reportedly grasping at dumb, possibly illegal straws.
As the Washington Post reported yesterday, one core problem of constructing 500 miles of new wall along the border is not owning the land to put it on (emphasis mine):
When aides have suggested that some orders are illegal or unworkable, Trump has suggested he would pardon the officials if they would just go ahead, aides said. He has waved off worries about contracting procedures and the use of eminent domain, saying “take the land,” according to officials who attended the meetings.
“Don’t worry, I’ll pardon you,” he has told officials in meetings about the wall.
“He said people expected him to build a wall, and it had to be done by the election,” one former official said.
Asked for comment, a White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Trump is joking when he makes such statements about pardons.
Great, so, here’s the president basically endorsing an expansive view of eminent domain to build his stupid fence and trying to encourage his aides to just do crimes to get it done. Funny joke! Per the Post, Customs and Border Protection has also been citing “national security concerns” to hand out contracts to pretty much any company that says they’ll do it quickly and bypassing standard procedures like environmental impact reports and risk assessments.
“They don’t care how much money is spent, whether landowners’ rights are violated, whether the environment is damaged, the law, the regs or even prudent business practices,” a senior official told the Post.
Great. So does Trump have any other absurd demands? Let’s check:
Trump’s determination to build the barriers as quickly as possible has not diminished his interest in the aesthetic aspects of the project, particularly the requirement that the looming steel barriers be painted black and topped with sharpened tips.
In a meeting at the White House on May 23, Trump ordered the Army Corps and the Department of Homeland Security to paint the structure black, according to internal communications reviewed by The Washington Post.
Administration officials have stopped trying to talk him out of the demands, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is preparing to instruct contractors to apply black paint or coating to all new barrier fencing, the communications show.
Oh good. We’re still on the paint it black plan. Gotta be 500 miles long, tipped in spikes, and painted black. This is what his supporters voted for, I guess, so this is what they’re going to get (or not, because it’s still not clear this is feasible.) Trump’s ideal timeline is to have all this done by Election Day in 2020. As the Post notes, in the past two-plus years, the Army has only installed 60 miles of replacement fencing in areas that already had some kind of barricade. Good luck with that!