Donald Trump has been opening up about what he envisions for his wall once construction begins. According to a report from The Washington Post, Trump no longer wants a concrete barrier like he originally planned, but instead, he wants to see a fence with the "slats" painted black that will be so hot it will injure climbers. He also envisions the fence with pointy tips to discourage anyone who manages to scale the hot metal.
Trump's White House has been diverting billions of dollars in military funding in order to pay for the border wall that Congress refused to fund. He's not only directing his administration to get the wall built along the U.S.-Mexico border, but he is also reportedly managing the design down to the smallest details.
For instance, Trump says that he wants the "slats" of the wall -- formally known as bollards -- to be painted "flat black" so that the metal will absorb the heat from the sun and be too hot to climb. He also is demanding metal points at the top of the fencing in order to cut the hands of people who manage to climb to the top. Officials warned Trump that painting the fence will increase the cost of not only construction but ongoing maintenance for the wall.
"Once you paint it, you always have to paint it," said one administration insider.
According to people familiar with the situation, Trump believes himself to be a builder, so he wants to be intimately involved in the design process for his signature campaign promise. According to David Lapan, who worked at Homeland Security, building a hotel is different than building a border wall.
"[B]uilding high-rises in New York City is not the same as putting up a barrier at the border," he said. "You're not looking for aesthetics; you're looking for functionality."Beyond the color, the president has also said that there are too many gates spaced across the wall and that the openings for the gates are too wide. He also wants the wall to be imposing but good-looking.
"He thinks it's ugly," another insider said.
Trump also wants the border to be much higher than originally planned -- up to 30 feet from the 15-18 feet originally planned.
"He thinks not only can the wall be effective, it doesn't have to be an eyesore," added another. "He wants one standard uniform height. That's what he's going for, and we have to match that with operational reality."
All of these changes have left designers and engineers unclear on exactly what the president envisions.