In The New York Times‘s excerpt of Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Michael D. Shear‘s forthcoming book Border Wars: Inside Trump’s Assault on Immigration, the presidents’s ideas to keep immigrants out were borderline medieval.
Trump privately suggested;
- Fortifying the border wall with electric spikes “that could pierce human flesh”
- “a water-filled trench” which would naturally be “stocked with snakes or alligators.” (The White House DID literally “seek a cost estimate” for the alligator-filled moat)
- shooting migrants who throw rocks at immigration officials
- shoot[ing] migrants “in the legs to slow them down”
But Trump was told that committing violence against migrants at-will is, in fact, illegal. (Bummer, huh, Trump?)
Trump was most insistent about his plan to shut down the border completely, forcefully insisting that it be done by “noon tomorrow” during a March Oval Office meeting reportedly shouting profanity when anyone disagreed.
“You are making me look like an idiot! I ran on this. It’s my issue.”
(Oh, honey, you are VERY accomplished in this regard. You’re making yourself look liken idiot DAILY…)
Nevertheless, advisors present at the Oval Office, including then-Homeland Secretary chief Kirstjen Nielsen, reportedly left the meeting
“in a near panic”
But according to the Times, they then launched a wide-scale Republican effort to change Trump’s mind when given a week-long extension. But when pressed on with his shutdown desires, going rogue by telling then-Customs and Border Protection chief Kevin McAleenan to completely stop admitting migrants at the border and saying he would pardon him if McAleenan got into trouble for it.
When Trump visited a room full of Border Patrol agents later in the week, he
“worked [the] room” and told the agents to “start turning away migrants at the border” and “keep them all out.”
As soon as he left, McAleenan told the agents to ignore Trump and that they did not have the authority to completely stop migrant processing.
Stephen Miller, the notoriously anti-immigration adviser reportedly took the opportunity to convince Trump to oust the White House officials who were standing in Trump’s way of blocking immigration, saying that
“they had become part of the problem by constantly citing legal hurdles.”
The purge then started. Homeland Security Under-Secretary Claire M. Grady and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services head L. Francis Cissna were both kicked off after Nielsen’s forced resignation.
Nielsen’s one high point with Trump was apparently when she fired tear gas into Mexico. Trump reportedly said during one meeting on legal authority for taking down drones, cutting Nielsen off mid-sentence,
“Kirstjen, you didn’t hear me the first time, honey. Shoot ’em down. Sweetheart, just shoot ’em out of the sky, O.K.?”
The final straw for Nielsen reportedly came after Trump told the secretary
“what he really needed was a cement wall.”
“Sir, I literally don’t think that’s even possible.”
Trump said in response.
“Kirstjen, I want to make a change…”
Trump’s shutdown ultimately didn’t happen in March as he had wanted but
“his threat to seal off the country from a flood of immigrants remains active.”
Once again, Paul Rudnick has a few suggestions…
Trump wants alligator-infested moats to stop immigration. More effective techniques: Ivanka waiting at the border for a hug, the Pences talking about Jesus, Don Jr. and Eric bro-dancing, all of Melania's outfits, Giuliani asking for a kiss, Kellyanne welcoming people like this pic.twitter.com/J3rTjZam2d— Paul Rudnick (@PaulRudnickNY) October 2, 2019
(Photo, Wikimedia Commons; via Vanity Fair)