Donald Trump‘s impulsive behavior is not news considering his infamous tweets and his ongoing battle to keep immigrants out but a recent New York Times article reveals his “solutions” are downright outrageous and at times illegal.
The New York publication revealed discussions he’d had about keeping migrants from crossing the border including shooting them in the legs (which is illegal), throwing rocks at them (also illegal), and building an electrified wall with spikes. He also wanted the border wall fortified with a moat that included snakes or alligators. What’s more ridiculous? His aides reportedly looked into cost estimates for these plans.
The report, part of the book Border Wars: Inside Trump’s Assault on Immigration, that’ll be released on Oct. 8., is based on interviews with more than a dozen White House and administration officials who met with the president this past March. At that point, he’d ordered that the border be completely closed and confirmed that he was planning to do so on Twitter.
After the reports were published, Trump immediately took to his favorite social media platform to deny the allegations. “Now the press is trying to sell the fact that I wanted a Moat stuffed with alligators and snakes, with an electrified fence and sharp spikes on top, at our Southern Border. I may be tough on Border Security, but not that tough. The press has gone Crazy. Fake News!”
When he ordered wall construction sped up, his then homeland security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said they needed permission from property owners. He reportedly told her to take the land and let them “sue us.” Trump also said in an interview with NYT that he had “absolute power to shut down the border.”
According to the Times, the “happiest” he had been with Nielsen was after American border agents had fired tear gas into Mexico to try to stop migrants from crossing into the U.S.
Your periodic reminder that in 1984 Donald Trump planned to build Trump Castle, a gold-leafed skyscraper in Manhattan that would be surrounded by a moat. https://t.co/Q2iR4seboG pic.twitter.com/LhC8UnmSl6
— James Poniewozik (@poniewozik) October 2, 2019
On a trip to California late in the week, Trump turned to Kevin K. McAleenan, the Customs and Border Protection chief at the time, with the idea that they would deny entry to any and all migrants at the border. He allegedly told him that if he got into trouble, he’d pardon him. Once he’d landed, he reportedly told Border Patrol agents to turn migrants away: “My message to you is, keep them all out, the president said. Every single one of them. The country is full.”
Afterward, once Trump was gone, McAleenan told the agents to ignore the president, saying they didn’t have the authority to stop processing migrants altogether.
Nielsen was later replaced by McAleenan and former Virginia attorney general Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, known to be hard on immigration and took over as Customs and Border Protection chief. On Aug. 12. Cuccinelli announced that the government would deny green cards for immigrants that were viewed as likely to “public charges” and later, McAleenan announced regulations allowing the indefinite detainment of immigrant families.
Through both the fantastical and the very real regulations being put in place against immigrants, people continue to call out Trump for his unruly behavior and deviant tactics.
“We’ve grown so accustomed to this madness that entering the Dr. Evil ‘sharks with friggin’ laser beams’ stage of this presidency doesn’t even seem like a big deal,” activist Adam Best tweeted.
We've grown so accustomed to this madness that entering the Dr. Evil “sharks with friggin' laser beams” stage of this presidency doesn’t even seem like a big deal. https://t.co/LDQh5dfCtV
— Adam Best (@adamcbest) October 1, 2019
Meanwhile, the impeachment inquiry continues and Trump maintains the whistleblower got it wrong so it’s easy to wonder if Trump’s own actions are only deemed wrong by him once he’s confronted in public about them.