Trump wants French doors instead of ugly hydraulic gates for his wall — and he wants to give the building contract to a guy who's 'been very aggressive on TV' at Fox News.
Trump wants his border wall built — but he's got some very particular ideas about who should build it and what it should look like.
Behind the scenes, the Washington Post reports, Trump has been pushing for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to give a border wall contract to Fisher Industries, based in North Dakota. Fisher's CEO, Tommy Fisher, is a big GOP donor and also a Fox News mainstay — so of course Trump loves him. Jared Kushner also backs the choice of Fisher, as does Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), who has received thousands of dollars from Fisher.
And Fisher hasn't been subtle about auditioning for the job. His company already built one of the prototype barriers commissioned by Trump. The Washington Post reports that Fisher has gone on Fox News and conservative radio stations to press his case. Cramer said that Trump likes Fisher because "he's been very aggressive on TV."
Fisher has claimed his company could build over 200 miles of the wall in under a year. That number is likely entirely unrealistic. First, Congress has only approved enough money to build 124 miles of the wall, and there's only an expectation of an additional 61 miles being constructed in 2019. Next, none of the barrier prototypes — including the one built by Fisher — met the operational requirements set by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). Finally, while it's difficult to estimate exactly how long each mile of the wall would take to build, one expert did give a ballpark answer: 10,000 workers could build 1,000 miles of wall in about 11 years.
The wall could also take longer than expected because Trump keeps trying to micromanage how it should look. He's already said that the wall should be painted matte black so that it would get hot enough to burn immigrants' hands and that there should be spikes at the top to hurt anyone who tries to scale it.
Now, Trump has decided that he doesn't like the idea of hydraulic sliding gates. "Why not French doors?" he asked during a Thursday meeting to discuss the wall, one official told the Post.
In a rational administration, Fisher's company would also have another strike against it: Fisher Industries has already been denied a border contract, and responded by suing the federal government.
That doesn't deter Trump one bit. And Trump's enthusiasm for this company is so outsized that the Post characterizes military commanders and DHS officials as being "alarmed" by his push for a specific contractor.
It's possible that Fisher Industries will build some portion of the wall regardless. They've affiliated themselves with We Build the Wall, the scammy crowdfunding effort to buy up private land and build portions of the wall there. Fisher has contracted with We Build the Wall to construct a section of fencing in New Mexico that will ostensibly be unveiled soon.
There's no doubt Trump is genuinely enthralled with the idea of his border wall, a monument to racism and nationalism. But he's equally in love with the idea of lining the pockets of GOP cronies and Fox News stalwarts. If he has his way, he'll get to do both by hiring Fisher.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.