A global pandemic hasn't completely distracted President Trump from his favorite project.
Yes, Trump is still dead-set on building a wall along the southern border, and he still wants it painted black. So much so that he's considering paying an extra $500 million to make it happen, contracting estimates obtained byThe Washington Post reveal.
Trump had a section of the wall painted "matte black" about a year ago because he thinks the coloring will make the steel barrier too hot to touch in the summer. Military commanders and border officials told Trump that continuing the paint job would be costly to apply and maintain, and reportedly thought they'd talked him out of it. But Trump brought it up again in a meeting last month amid the coronavirus pandemic, and ordered officials to get cost estimates for the paint, four administration officials told the Post. Those cost estimates show a black coating could cost anywhere from $500 million for two coats of acrylic paint to $3 billion for a so-called "powder coating" along a new section of border wall, the Post reports.
Meanwhile, Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner is seemingly getting fed up with running the border wall project. Kushner is heading the construction, and told everyone at a recent meeting that "the wall was not his favorite project but that he is the only one who can get it done," the Post writes. Read more about how much the wall and its apparently mandatory paint job will cost at The Washington Post. Kathryn Krawczyk
President Trump wants a border wall, and he wants it painted black.
Channeling his inner Lil Nas X, Trump had a section of border wall painted "matte black" in June, and he reportedly wants to continue the trend along another 175 miles of fencing. It'll cost an additional $70–133 million to make that happen, and it's far from the only specific demand Trump has for his long-awaited border wall, The Washington Post reports.
The 2020 presidential race is heating up, but Trump has yet to deliver on his 2016 promise to build a wall across the southern border of the U.S. So in an attempt to complete 500 miles of the wall in the next year, Defense Secretary Mark Esper is expected to let the White House use $3.6 billion in department funding originally slated for other projects, administration officials tell the Post.
Yet even in this rush, Trump hasn't let his aesthetic demands fall by the wayside. One mile of the wall was painted matte black so it would be more hot and slippery to ward off climbers, and Trump is demanding it all be painted the same color, border agents tell the Post. And even though the top of that current one-mile span is covered with smooth metal plates, Trump wants those "unsightly" climbing deterrents removed in favor of spiked steel toppers, officials continue. Trump also wants to implement eminent domain laws to seize land from owners along the border unwilling to sell, though an administration official said they'd rather negotiate with landowners and pay them a "fair market value" instead.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about President Trump's vision for his southern border wall is the fact that he doesn't want to paint it gold.
Instead, he wants it to be painted "flat black," thinking that if it absorbs heat in the summer, migrants will not be able to climb it, current and former administration officials told The Washington Post on Thursday. Trump has been very vocal about how the wall should look, they said, down to the most mundane details; he even used to call former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen early in the morning, waking her up, in order to discuss the barrier.
The wall, it had been decided, will actually be a steel bollard fence, with a special, secret material inserted in the hollow cavity to make it harder to cut, the officials said. Customs and Border Protection determined that the optimal height is between 15 and 18 feet tall, but Trump wants it to be 30 feet, the Post reports, with pointed tips rather than round ones. Trump also thinks the plans show too many gates in the barrier, and he wants smaller openings.
All of the changes are adding up, the officials said, and Trump has been warned about the rising cost, especially if the fence is painted black. "Once you paint it, you always have to paint it," one official said. Trump often brings the project up during unrelated meetings, the Post reports, and he has been reveling in "describing in graphic terms the potential injuries that border crossers might receive." Read more about Trump's dream wall at The Washington Post.Catherine Garcia