When Donald Trump talks about a “big, beautiful wall,” he’s being unusually precise about what he wants—and he’s prepared to tell the wall-building experts to change their practical designs to fit the wall in his imagination. Trump’s micromanagement has gotten to the point where, The Washington Post reports, former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen “thought the president’s acute interest in the barrier’s appearance became a distraction from more pressing border issues, [an administration] official said.”
The experts wanted the “wall”—now more of a fence, and still under legal challenge—to be 15 to 18 feet high. Trump wanted 30 feet. The experts designed a range of tops that make it difficult to cross the top, including a cylinder or a flat anti-climbing panel. Trump wants spikes because they look bad-ass and scary. And he wants it painted black, even though, in the words of one administration official, “Once you paint it, you always have to paint it.”
According to former Trump Organization executive Barbara Res, this is exactly the kind of micromanaging Trump brought to his buildings, caring deeply about “trivial” details like kitchen finishes. Only now he’s applying that approach to viciously dividing the country, and his whims are driving up the price of something already costing billions in public money. Donald Trump believes he knows better than anyone else, and no one around him is willing to tell him otherwise.