President Donald Trump remains intent on making a 30 foot wall stretching for hundreds of miles a hallmark of his presidency. He’s recently gotten pledges for a full $2.5 billion in wall funding from the Pentagon, and now that some more actual new barrier is seemingly approaching reality, The Washington Post has unveiled some wild demands Trump has made of the project behind the scenes. He’s even said he wants it painted black so in summer, it’s hot and presumably too hot to climb, and he wants spikes at the top so attempted climbers would be injured — which he’s described in “graphic terms,” according to The Post.
In other words, it’s as though Trump is trying to make some kind of storybook villain’s castle — except it’s a major transnational border and the status of large amounts of people are at stake. Besides the other demands, the president has also reportedly insisted that as is, wall designs have too many gates and when they do appear, the openings should be smaller. It’s as if he believes there is actually going to be some kind of military-level invasion over the southern border and Americans must up their defenses against the oh-so-scary Mexicans. That’s what we’re working with here.
It’s not as though this is some passing phase for him — constructing this wall is the obsession of the president of the United States. The Post even shares that Trump “on several occasions woke former secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to discuss the project in the early morning, officials said.” He’s also summoned the head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite for repeated White House meetings in which he’s sought to pressure the project to be more to his liking. Officials have been overall left “confused” by the president’s frenzied missives to them about the project, the publication shares. It’s like he’s only barely metaphorically frothing at the mouth to get this thing put up.
When (or if) the wall does appear — and to be clear, it mostly hasn’t so far, there have mostly just been fence repairs — it won’t be the concrete structure that the president long pushed for. Instead, they’re implementing a steel bollard design; the beams are set to be filled with a secret anti-sawing substance up to a certain point and then concrete the rest of the way up. The Department of Homeland Security had at one point settled on a design 15 to 18 feet tall, but Trump has reportedly pressured them to up their goal to a 30 foot structure.
All of the design changes Trump has demanded up the price, and to accommodate what he insists is some 400 miles of new barrier coming by next year, his team would no doubt have to get more money for the project than they already have.
Democrats continue to advocate against the appropriation of money for the effort to the point of including legislation explicitly prohibiting the usage of Defense Department funds for Trump’s wall in their defense spending proposal for the upcoming fiscal year. Considering the Senate remains sporting a Republican majority and Trump obviously remains in the White House — there’s sure to be a battle ahead over that and other Democratic funding demands.
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