Since declaring a national emergency in February over the humanitarian crisis at the southern border, allowing him to direct funds to the construction of the border wall, President Trump has reportedly been heavily involved in the project — to the point of being accused of “micromanaging.”
According to The Washington Post‘s sources, Tump has instructed Homeland Security officials and military engineers to create a “physically imposing but also aesthetically pleasing” wall. One particular detail the Post says he’s requested is for the whole thing to be painted “flat black.” The rationale: flat black absorbs more heat and thus could make the wall so hot during the summer that people won’t want to try to climb over it.
The Post says the president also requested that the bollards feature pointed tips rather than rounded tips, to further discourage scaling the wall. When giving his instructions, Trump described “in graphic terms the potential injuries that border crossers might receive,” the Post reports.
Another note Trump reportedly gave to officials is to further limit the number of gates on the wall and to make those gates more narrow to better restrict passage.
Trump declared a national emergency in February after Democrats refused to give him his requested $5 billion for border wall construction, even though the issue forced the longest partial government shutdown in history. The emergency declaration has allowed the president to redirect funds to the border, but as Business Insider notes, Trump’s political opponents are attempting to “cap” how much money Trump can direct to border wall construction.
“Rep. John Garamendi, the Democratic chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, suggested in a Thursday statement cited by Defense News that the president was using the military construction budget ‘and other critical projects as a personal slush fund to fulfill a campaign promise,'” the outlet reports. “Garamendi, whose subcommittee oversees military construction, presented a bill Wednesday that would cap military spending at $250 million per national emergency, Defense News reported.”
Trump is also requesting $4.5 billion from Congress to address the humanitarian crisis caused by the massive influx of migrants. The White House has made clear that none of those funds will go to the wall; instead, it will go directly to helping ease the burden on our overwhelmed immigration system.
Despite finally agreeing that there is a crisis, Democrats remain hesitant about providing more funding to address it. “Democrats said they would review the request but raised concerns about some of the proposals,” USA Today reported when Trump first made the request. “More than $150 million of the new money would be used to accommodate ‘significant increases’ in immigrants detained, for instance.”
Though Democrats in the House have made clear they won’t budge on the border wall, Trump has requested $8.6 billion in funding in the new budget, more than six times the amount allocated in each of the past two years.