According to the Washington Post, President Trump has been very, very involved in planning how his fantasy border wall will look and what kind of damage it will do to those who try to cross it. It seems that Trump’s ideal wall would look and act something like a medieval torture device.
Trump apparently wanted the wall painted black, so it will be too hot to climb, according to White House aides, Department of Homeland Security officials, and military engineers. He also wants the tips of the steel bollards that make up the wall to be pointed, in order to injure those who try to climb over it, telling aids the points would “cut the hands of climbers.” He has reportedly argued for this feature while “describing in graphic terms the potential injuries that border-crossers might receive.” Trump also apparently believes the wall should have fewer and smaller gates.
The president is completely obsessed with monitoring the wall’s construction, sources told the Post. He reportedly used to wake up former DHS secretary Kirstjen Nielsen at an ungodly hour of the morning to discuss designs, according to officials. His design requests are often bizarre, nonsensical, and confusing to those working on the project.
But Trump isn’t just concerned that the wall is deadly, he also wants it to look nice! He’s apparently sought out U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite several times to tell him so.
“He thinks it’s ugly,” one administration official told the Post.
Trump apparently sees this as his chance to build truly massive monstrosity tailored to his desires.
“Building high-rises in New York City is not the same as putting up a barrier at the border,” former DHS official David Lapan told the Post, stating the obvious. “You’re not looking for aesthetics; you’re looking for functionality.”
“He thinks not only can the wall be effective, it doesn’t have to be an eyesore,” a DHS official told the Post. “He wants one standard uniform height. That’s what he’s going for, and we have to match that with operational reality.”
DHS declined the Post’s request for comment. The Army Corps confirmed Semonite met with Trump and referred questions to the White House.
Not only are Trump’s design ideas unbelievably cruel, they’re also expensive. Painting the wall black, for example, would add to the cost of maintenance.
“Once you paint it, you always have to paint it,” an administration official told the Post.
Trump is currently using $1.4 billion provided by Democrats in a compromise ending this year’s government shutdown to build new barriers on the border, but that money can only be used to build barriers in the style already used by Customs and Border Protection. But Trump also has $2.5 billion from the military to play with, taken through his executive order declaring a national emergency on the border.
The Post emphasizes that Trump is so deeply preoccupied with the wall’s construction that he often brings it up in unrelated meetings and forces aides to answer questions. He seems to not understand how long the wall will take to build, even suggesting some of his real estate friends in New York could build it faster, sources say.
The president’s fixation has led to real changes in the wall’s design, such as its 30-foot height. After the administration spent $3 million on prototypes, officials say they settled on the higher design.
“We were able to test what happens when you put someone up that high. They freeze up,” a former Trump official told the Post. “There was significant deterrence value to putting people on a 30-foot wall.”
“He always wanted to go higher,” another official added.