Donald Trump Told Aides He Would Pardon Them If They Broke Laws To Build The Border Wall Faster, Report Claims

Border Patrol detains a person at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Donald Trump is desperate to build the border wall before the coming presidential election — and he’s willing to disregard the law in order to do it, a new report claims.

As the president comes under increasing pressure for failing to build any new sections of border wall more than two years after making the wall a chief campaign promise, a new report from the Washington Post claims that Trump has told top administration aides that he would pardon them if they broke any laws to get the wall built in time for 2020. That includes potential plans to seize private land through eminent domain or ignore environmental rules.

“Don’t worry, I’ll pardon you,” the president allegedly told aides who were worried about Trump’s disregard for laws that would prevent the wall from being built.

It was not clear how serious Donald Trump may have been about the promise, as at least one official told the outlet that it appeared Trump was joking when he made the offer to pardon his aides. But the pressure Trump faces heading into the 2020 election is very real. Trump had repeatedly promised during the 2016 presidential campaign that he would build a wall that stretched for 1,000 miles along the U.S.-Mexico border and that he would force Mexico to pay for it.

Trump appears to have dropped the plan to have Mexico pay for the wall, instead pushing Congress to authorize funding and engineering a government shutdown that stretched from the end of 2018 until early this year when Democrats refused to authorize funding. Though some sections of the existing border wall have been updated and replaced since Trump took office, there has not been a single mile of new wall built.

It is not clear when any may be constructed. Axios this week reached out to the Trump administration for information on when the construction may start, but could not get an answer.

“More than 2 1/2 years after President Trump took office with an ardent promise to build a wall along the southern border, his administration cannot tell us when it will add its 1st mile of new wall to a border area that doesn’t have pre-existing barriers,” the report said.

Loading...

Other reports have begun to scrutinize Trump’s failure to follow through on what was one of his most-repeated campaign promises, which he turned into a chant at rallies throughout the 2016 campaign. The Washington Examiner noted in a report last month that Trump frequently promised a wall stretching for 1,000 miles, but has yet to follow through on even a single mile of it.