Trump Is Willing to Do Whatever It Takes to Get the Border Wall Built

Even if it means pardoning aides who break the law following his orders.

Christopher Brown/Zuma

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

The United States Army Corps of Engineers has built 60 miles of border fencing since President Donald Trump took office. But Trump wants to accelerate that to 440 more miles completed by the 2020 election, and he’s willing to bypass legal procedures to make it happen.

Under the president’s direction, Trump’s aides have hurriedly awarded construction contracts totaling billions of dollars, seized private land through eminent domain, and undertaken unauthorized construction in environmentally sensitive areas, The Washington Post reported. In short, Trump has chosen to defy the law in order to erect a wall he has repeatedly claimed is necessary for maintaining “the rule of law.”

Trump officials have reported that the president has offered to pardon them should they break the law in order to build the wall. A White House official told The Post Trump’s offer was a joke.

Trump’s preference for construction contractors is particularly concerning. Trump wants the Army Corps to award a contract to Fisher Industries, whose CEO has financially backed Trump ally Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.). Cramer was reportedly outraged that the military awarded contracts to Fisher’s competitors and frustrated at the pace of construction. “I’m not a wall-building expert, but at the pace of the last few years, it’s hard to see how 450 miles gets built with the same process,” Cramer told The Post.

Trump has also demanded that the Army Corps spend extra time and money to make the wall meet certain aesthetic requirements. He wants the wall to be painted black in order to make the surface slippery and hot to the touch. Painting 175 miles of barrier would cost between $70 million and $133 million and cut the total length of fence the Army Corps could build by four to seven miles, according to The Post. He also wants the top of the wall to be built with sharpened points rather than the smooth metal plates of the current design, a modification which could reduce the length of total fence built by two or three miles.

Only 110 miles of the fencing that Trump hopes to add will be located in areas that do not currently have barriers.

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate