Donald Trump's signature campaign promise to build a "big, beautiful" border wall to keep out the "bad hombres" of Central America from crossing into the US has been much tougher to realise than he ever expected.

According to The Washington Post, the billionaire real estate magnate is insistent on micromanaging the project and is said to consider what he's seen so far "ugly".

To address this, he wants every square inch painted black on the theory that a black wall will better absorb the heat from the blistering summer sun, making it tougher for would-be illegal entrants to climb it.

He also wants spikes added to the top to ensure maximum injury is inflicted on any desperate asylum seeker who makes it that high.

But military engineers have been left confused by the president's interference, with one official quoted by The Post pointing out the obvious problem with undertaking a costly and arduous paint job:

Once you paint it, you always have to paint it.

David Lapan, who worked at the department of Homeland Security when it spent more than $3m (£2.35m) on prototypes for the wall, suggests the president is out of his depth, even if he does consider himself a master builder:

Building high-rises in New York City is not the same as putting up a barrier at the border. You're not looking for aesthetics, you're looking for functionality.

Trump was always vague about the precise details of his wall on the campaign trail and has reportedly changed his mind about its height, always wanting it larger despite being warned about spiralling construction costs and future maintenance considerations.

He was so keen to get the project started that he even had a plaque installed to commemorate its commencement in California.

The only trouble was, the section of barrier in question had actually been erected in 2009 under Barack Obama. Fake news!

He has also regularly tweeted pictures and footage of routine repairs to existing fencing and insisted it was new sections of the wall going up. More fake news!

Arguably even more humiliatingly, a revamp to the existing US immigration system announced by the president on Thursday including a provision allowing the American public to help crowdfund the wall, suggesting he still doesn't have enough cash to finish it.

The president first broached the idea on Twitter in August 2014 and initially promised his supporters he would force Mexico to pay for the 1,954-mile barrier from "sea to shining sea" cutting through the borderlands and wildlife reserves of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

That, of course, was always a non-starter, forcing Trump to ask Congress for $5.7bn (£4.4bn) in federal funding. House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer said no, offering only $1.4bn (£1bn) as a compromise, bringing about the record-breaking 35-day government shutdown across December and January.

Addressing the nation on TV early this year, the president ramped up his scaremongering rhetoric on the extent of the problem and asked the electorate:

How much more American blood must be shed before Congress does its job?

With the Democrats showing no sign of budging, the president finally declared the "crisis" of illegal immigration at the border a national emergency in February in order to be able to reallocate funds from other government departments to bankroll the project.

A motion of disapproval was passed by both the House of Representatives and Senate opposing the decision, forcing Trump to veto it when it landed on his desk, allowing construction to commence in earnest.

But now that the steel bollard fence is finally going up (he had promised it would be made of concrete), President Trump is still not happy.

Keep reading...Show less
Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)