It’s easy to say Donald Trump doesn’t surprise us anymore, but we have to admit this one actually stopped us in our tracks. The New York Times is reporting that, back in March, the president presented several ideas to cause harm to migrants. The newspaper says this is “based on interviews with more than a dozen White House and administration officials directly involved.” They were “granted anonymity.”
Here is the most disturbing excerpt:
Privately, the president had often talked about fortifying a border wall with a water-filled trench, stocked with snakes or alligators, prompting aides to seek a cost estimate. He wanted the wall electrified, with spikes on top that could pierce human flesh. After publicly suggesting that soldiers shoot migrants if they threw rocks, the president backed off when his staff told him that was illegal. But later in a meeting, aides recalled, he suggested that they shoot migrants in the legs to slow them down. That’s not allowed either, they told him.
There are 1950 miles along the United States/Mexico border. Was Trump planning on putting snakes and alligators on the U.S. side. Or was he planning on asking Mexico if he could build his swamp on their side of the border? There are more than 7 million people who live along the border. So basically are we to believe he was willing to put those people in harm’s way if it meant deterring migrants? It’s disturbing and ridiculous to imagine this was actually a serious idea. It sounds more like something Dr. Evil would say in Austin Powers. Remember he equipped sharks with laser beams?
The remarks documented in the report today were uncovered as part of a new book from Michael D. Shear and Julie Hirschfeld Davis, “Border Wars: Inside Trump’s Assault on Immigration.”
At one point, “multiple officials in the room” told the Times that Trump “shouted profanities” and said “You are making me look like an idiot! I ran on this. It’s my issue.”
He then reportedly scolded former Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, speaking to her in a way no supervisor should ever address an employee:
When Ms. Nielsen tried to get him to focus on something other than the border, the president grew impatient. During a briefing on the need for new legal authority to take down drones, Mr. Trump cut her off midsentence.
“Kirstjen, you didn’t hear me the first time, honey,” Mr. Trump said, according to two people familiar with the conversation. “Shoot ’em down. Sweetheart, just shoot ’em out of the sky, O.K.?”
*This report contains analysis and opinion